2018 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Week 4 1st-Round Predictions for All Prospects

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2017

Penn State's Saquon Barkley (26) is brought down by Indiana's Chase Dutra (30) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)
Chris Knight/Associated Press

As college football's regular season rolls along the NFL draft picture slowly begins to come into focus. 

Some players, such as Penn State running back Saquan Barkley, have already begun to establish themselves as elite prospects and appear destined to land among the first players off the board. While others, such as USC quarterback Sam Darnold, continue to struggle and raise questions about their once-soaring draft stock. 

Here's a look at how the 2018 NFL draft could play out, followed by a closer evaluation of a few top prospects:

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

2. San Francisco 49ers: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

3. New York Jets: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

4. Chicago Bears: Arden Key, DE, LSU

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Derwin James, S, Florida State

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama

7. Miami Dolphins: Harold Landry, DE/LB, Boston College

8. Indianapolis Colts: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

9. Buffalo Bills: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

10. Jacksonville Jaguars: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

11. Los Angeles Rams: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

12. New York Giants: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

13. Arizona Cardinals: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

14. New Orleans Saints: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

15. Baltimore Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M 

16. Washington Redskins: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

17. Cleveland Browns (from HOU): Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

19. Minnesota Vikings: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

21. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

22. Carolina Panthers: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson

23. Denver Broncos: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

24. Tennessee Titans: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

25. Dallas Cowboys: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

26. Seattle Seahawks: Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson

27. Oakland Raiders: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

28. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Deontay Burnett, WR, USC

29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Quin Blanding, S, Virginia

30. Green Bay Packers: Lorenzo Carter, DE/LB, Georgia

31. Atlanta Falcons: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan

32. New England Patriots: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

Draft order based on most recent Super Bowl odds from OddsShark.com

       

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins looks to pass during the second half of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes  at the Rose Bowl on September 30, 2017 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Browns drafted DeShone Kizer in the second round in the 2017 NFL draft, but only after passing over him three times in the first round. Clearly, Cleveland's front office wasn't confident in Kizer before the draft, and based on his early-season performance, it's hard to imagine that has changed. 

Through four weeks, Kizer has already thrown eight interceptions and completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts in each of his last three games. 

Drafting a quarterback two years in a row is rare, but not unprecedented. In 2011, for example, the Panthers selected Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick just one year after taking Jimmy Clausen in the second round. 

The presence of Kizer gives the Browns some flexibility, but if the losing continues and they have their pick of the entire 2018 draft class, it may be difficult to pass over a talent like UCLA's Josh Rosen. 

         

2. San Francisco 49ers: Sam Darnold

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans stands in the pocket against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at California Memorial Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Berkeley, California. The USC Trojans de
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The 49ers' need for a quarterback is arguably the most glaring in the entire league. Brian Hoyer has always been a serviceable starter, but the 31-year-old isn't the long-term answer in San Francisco. 

Unfortunately for the 49ers, the 2018 quarterback class is becoming less promising as the season wears on. 

USC's Sam Darnold was presumed to be a challenger for the No. 1 pick along with Rosen, but his season has not gone as planned. After a shaky start in the season opener against Western Michigan, Darnold's struggles have continued to snowball. 

According to CFB Film Room, Darnold is just 4-for-23 on throws of at least 10 yards over the past two weeks. That dreadful rate clearly raises a red flag and will cause scouts to focus on his downfield passing performance throughout the rest of the year. 

There is plenty of time for Darnold to turn things around, but his status as a slam-dunk top-10 pick is in jeopardy. 

     

3. New York Jets: Saquon Barkley

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Saquon Barkley #26 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball as he is brought down short of the goal line by Tegray Scales #8 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half on September 30, 2017 at Beaver Stadium
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

New York Jets fans entered the season prepared to tank for a quarterback. Some even went so far as to purchase their Darnold jerseys a year early. But after a 2-2 start, it looks like the Jets may have difficulty getting back into position to guarantee themselves a shot at one of the top quarterbacks in the 2018 draft class. 

If the Jets miss out on a quarterback, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would be a nice consolation prize. 

Quarterbacks obviously attract more interest in the draft due to the value of the position, but a case could be made that Barkley is the most talented draft-eligible prospect in the nation. With 31-year-old Matt Forte and 28-year-old Bilal Powell sharing touches in the Jets backfield, a younger workhorse running back will clearly be high on the Jets' wish list heading into the draft. 

Barkley's ability to contribute in the running game and as a receiver makes him an ideal playmaker to pair with a young, developing quarterback.

The Jets could mimic the Dallas Cowboys' approach when they drafted Ezekiel Elliott early in the first round and then snagged Dak Prescott later in the 2016 NFL draft. Elliott's well-rounded skill set eased the pressure on Prescott, and Barkley could have the same impact on a young quarterback in New York.