2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects After Week 3

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2017

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley runs with the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

We're already three weeks into the NFL season and five franchises are still in search of their first victories of the year. So if you're already looking ahead to the 2018 NFL draft, you're not alone. 

While there's still much to be decided before April's draft, early-season performances are starting to shape the draft stock of prospects, and at the NFL level teams are already discovering needs that may need to be addressed next offseason. 

Based on these early-season results, here's a look at how the NFL draft could shake out:


1. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

2. Cleveland Browns: Arden Key, DE, LSU

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

4. Chicago Bears: Derwin James, S, Florida State

5. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama

7. Los Angeles Rams: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

8. New Orleans Saints: Harold Landry, DE/LB, Boston College

9. Buffalo Bills: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

10. Los Angeles Chargers: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

12. Washington Redskins: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

13. Miami Dolphins: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

14. New York Giants: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

15. Arizona Cardinals: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

16. Cleveland Browns (via HOU): Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

17. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

18. Baltimore Ravens: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

19. Minnesota Vikings: Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson

20. Tennessee Titans: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

21. Detroit Lions: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson

23. Carolina Panthers: Trey Adams, OT, Washington

24. Denver Broncos: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson

25. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

26. Dallas Cowboys: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

27. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

28. Green Bay Packers: Cameron Smith, LB, USC

29. Oakland Raiders: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

30. Seattle Seahawks: Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lorenzo Carter, DE/LB, Georgia

32. New England Patriots: Josh Sweat, DE/LB, Florida State

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


5. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley

Chris Knight/Associated Press

Much like when Peyton Manning missed the entire 2011 season, which put the Colts in position to draft Andrew Luck, they might end up benefiting from Luck's shoulder injury, which has prevented him from the taking the field this year. 

With Luck sidelined, the Colts have looked inept on offense and appear destined to land a top-10 pick if their franchise quarterback remains sidelined much longer. The good news, however, is that pick could help them land a playmaker capable of elevating the Colts offense to another level. 

One player likely to be high on the Colts draft board is Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who looks like the most dynamic running back in the college game. 

Barkley is coming off a dominant performance against a solid Iowa Hawkeyes defense in which he rushed for 211 yards and added another 94 receiving yards on 12 receptions. His well-rounded skill set would fit perfectly in Indianapolis and could help take some attention off of Luck and the Colts' downfield passing game. 


7. Los Angeles Rams: Orlando Brown Jr.

One of the Rams' priorities this offseason should be improving the protection around their franchise quarterback, Jared Goff. 

Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown, son of late former Browns and Ravens lineman Orlando Brown, has been among the most dominant offensive linemen in the nation this season. At 6'8", he has ideal length to shut down edge-rushers, and could dramatically improve Goff's protection in Los Angeles. 

Rams running back Todd Gurley would also welcome the addition of Brown, who is equally dominant as a run-blocker, according to Pro Football Focus:

Under the guidance of new head coach Sean McVay, the Rams offense has already made substantial strides this season. Adding another lineman like Brown could allow the team to finally take the necessary steps towards becoming a playoff contender again. 


15. Arizona Cardinals: Courtland Sutton

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 04:  Courtland Sutton #16 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs scores a touchdown agains the Baylor Bears in the second quarter at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 4, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

When everyone is healthy, the Cardinals still have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. However, 37-year-old Carson Palmer and 34-year-old Larry Fitzgerald are a big part of their success and obviously won't be around forever. 

The Cardinals haven't spent a first-round pick on an offensive skill position player since selecting wide receiver Michael Floyd in 2012. That trend will likely change in 2018, as the rebuilding process on offense begins. 

One of the Cardinals targets could be SMU's 6'4" wide receiver Courtland Sutton. 

Sutton caught 10 touchdowns passes a season ago for the Mustangs and is already halfway to that total in 2017. His big frame and ability to make plays in the red zone would make him an ideal complement to the Cardinals' smaller, faster receivers J.J. Nelson and John Brown. 


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