NFL Draft 2018: Latest Mock Draft Predictions for Top Prospects of Round 1

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2018

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws a pass during the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The NFL draft isn't without its surprises each year, though they've started to come early as we approach the 2018 NFL draft. 

Christian Wilkins, the elite defensive tackle out of Clemson, won't go pro despite a surefire spot in the first round. He's the latest to raise some eyebrows in this regard, with fellow teammates Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell joining him in this area, with the latter also widely considered a first-round pick.

Prospects don't have long to decide if they'll stay or go pro now, though a few more surprises seem inevitable. Either way, a strong 2018 class will still take the NFL by storm, led by the resurgence at running back thanks to Saquon Barkley, alongside a crop of talented running backs sure to make draft season as entertaining as usual. 

Below, let's scrape together a mock draft based on team need and prospect value now that we know the order for all except the four remaining teams in the playoffs. 

      

2018 NFL Mock Draft 

1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

3. Indianapolis Colts: Derwin James, S, Florida State

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

6. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

8. Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

*9. San Francisco 49ers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

*10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

13. Washington Redskins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

14. Green Bay Packers: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

15. Arizona Cardinals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

16. Baltimore Ravens: Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

19. Dallas Cowboys: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

21. Buffalo Bills: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

23. Los Angeles Rams: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State

24. Carolina Panthers: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

25. Tennessee Titans: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

26. Atlanta Falcons: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

27. New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC 

32. New England Patriots: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma

*Depicts tiebreakers to be decided by a coin-flip. Pick Nos. 27-32 will be determined by playoff results.

       

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Polarizing or not, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield isn't going to last long on draft day. 

At 6'1" and 220 pounds, Mayfield isn't huge—but he doesn't need to be. Pro coaches know how to move pockets and work around what was once thought to be a major issue. And there is intriguing production here with Mayfield as well after a year in which he completed 70.5 percent of his passes with 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns against six interceptions, not to mention another 311 yards and five scores as a rusher. 

A bit of the unknown with Mayfield is his personality after a few on-field gestures and one off-field incident, though it's something he openly admitted in an interview with Gil Brandt and Sporting News' Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

"There are a lot of skeptical people out there who think I have character issues," Mayfield said, according to Marvez. "That’s why I’m doing [the Senior Bowl]—to sit down and have a conversation with people. Let them know I love the game of football and I’ll do anything to win."

It isn't often such a high-profile prospect rolls through the Senior Bowl, so it bodes well for Mayfield's stock. 

While the appearance and production are nice, the biggest thing with Mayfield is upside, which is something a team like the Cleveland Browns won't be able to ignore. He's accurate on deep passes, has a strong arm and can extend plays, if not produce, with his feet. For the Browns, an extra pick in the top five means an additional chance to finally get it right under center, with Mayfield sounding more than ready for a competition. 

       

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The hype train for NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb is starting to leave the station. 

Chubb is a recognizable name, yet this is more of an offensive-minded class so far, and the biggest defenders stealing attention are Derwin James and Roquan Smith. 

But Chubb is about to take over. 

A brief line from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller in his latest mock draft says it all: "As far as pure pass-rushers go, he's not quite on the level of former No. 1 picks Jadeveon Clowney or Myles Garrett, but he's right behind them."

Miller has Chubb as the first defender off the board, sending him to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 3, though in the above mock he takes a dip to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a quarterback rush and the prioritization of a premier position with a guy like James. 

Not that the Buccaneers will complain—the best-player-available approach will serve them well with Chubb, who can come in and provide a boost to a 22-sack defense from 2017. Those Buccaneers have recognizable forces such as Gerald McCoy, yet the production wasn't there. 

In a division with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton, Chubb is a talent the Buccaneers need to keep their heads above water.

      

22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Formerly viewed as a candidate to come off the board first overall, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has some ground to make up after a shaky season. 

That's certainly one way to put it, at least, as Allen only completed 56.3 percent of his passes, with 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns against six interceptions. Call it a far cry from his 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns with 15 interceptions from the year prior. 

But again, the NFL drafts on upside and Allen, 6'5" and 233 pounds, has plenty of it. He'll also show up at the Senior Bowl, per Zac Jackson of The Athletic: 

It feels like Allen's stock could go in a wide range of directions, from top 10 to out of the first round entirely. It only takes one team to fall in love, though—or a team with multiple picks in the first round. 

This is why the Buffalo Bills pull the trigger in the above mock. The coaching staff might not want to be tied to Tyrod Taylor any longer, and Nathan Peterman, a former fifth-round pick, imploded via two touchdowns and five interceptions on limited chances. 

The Bills have plenty of offensive building to do overall, yet grabbing a big quarterback like Allen and letting him develop alongside the rest of a core plan seems like a good move, especially with the cost being an extra pick in the opening round. 

           

Stats courtesy of NFL.com.

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