2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects After Week 15

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2017

SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton (16) during warm ups before the start of an NCAA college football game against Houston Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Hope may seem like a lost cause for many NFL teams at this point of the season, but the draft always offers light at the end of the losing tunnel.

Rebuilding squads can look no further than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted difference-makers in cornerback Jalen Ramsey and running back Leonard Fournette in the first round in each of the last two years and sit at 10-4 after going 3-13 in 2016.

The right couple of pieces can accelerate a rebuild and lead to playoff appearances. With that in mind, here is a look at the latest mock 2018 draft.

              

Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

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

3. Indianapolis Colts Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Connor Williams, OT, Texas

5. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

6. Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

8. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

9. Denver Broncos: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

10. New York Jets: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

11. Arizona Cardinals: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

12. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

13. Washington: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

14. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

15. Los Angeles Chargers: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

16. Green Bay Packers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

17. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

18. Seattle Seahawks Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

19. Detroit Lions: Billy Price, C/OG, Ohio State

20. Dallas Cowboys: Derwin James, S, Florida State

21. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College

22. Buffalo Bills: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

23. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

24. New Orleans Saints: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

25. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

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

27. Los Angeles Rams: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

28. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio State

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

31. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, DE/OLB, Ohio State

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

              

Ideal Landing Spots

Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears have a wide receiver problem and will look to address it during the upcoming draft.

Kevin White was supposed to develop into a top-flight option, but he has appeared in just five games since the Bears selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Alshon Jeffery is now on the Philadelphia Eagles, and the team is making do with players such as Kendall Wright and Josh Bellamy.

If Mitchell Trubisky is going to be the quarterback of the future, he needs more playmakers around him to develop.

Enter SMU's Courtland Sutton, who tallied 1,017 receiving yards and 12 touchdown catches in 2017 after finishing with 1,246 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches last year.

He would represent a red-zone target for Trubisky at 6'4". Sutton is also versatile enough to play on the outside or in the slot, as he demonstrated at SMU, and has the speed to get past defenders in space and the physicality to win on 50-50 balls.

Sutton would provide an instant upgrade for the Chicago aerial attack as soon as his rookie season.

                

Green Bay Packers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers have struggled to replace cornerback Casey Hayward since he signed with the then-San Diego Chargers before the 2016 season.

Green Bay was 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game last season and was 24th this year entering play Sunday. Adding someone like Iowa's Joshua Jackson in the draft would help the team address an area of need and shore up a defense that frequently lets Aaron Rodgers and the offense down.

It is hard to find a college cornerback who had a better two-game stretch than Jackson did in November when he tallied three interceptions in Iowa's stunning victory over Ohio State and followed up with two pick-sixes against Wisconsin the next week.

He thrived on the biggest stages the Hawkeyes saw this season and did not shrink away from the moment.

In addition to the ball-tracking skills that help him on those interceptions, Jackson is physical enough to support against the run and had at least three tackles in every game this season but one. Green Bay needs defensive playmakers like him in its secondary.

              

Pittsburgh Steelers: Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio State

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

It is not an exaggeration to call Ryan Shazier the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. He is more than just a powerful hitter considering he flies around with speed and chases ball-carriers in space, hangs with tight ends downfield and pressures opposing quarterbacks.

However, his football future is in question after he underwent spinal surgery following an injury on a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Look for the Steelers to turn to Shazier's alma mater for another speedy linebacker who makes plays in space.

Ohio State unleashes Jerome Baker in a variety of ways, sometimes asking him to cover tight ends on passing routes, blitz the quarterback or provide critical support against the run on early downs.

His talent was never clearer this season than the Big Ten Championship Game when he notched a head-turning 16 tackles in a victory over Wisconsin, and he also had a pick-six against Baker Mayfield last year in the Buckeyes' win over Oklahoma.

It is not realistic to expect him to replicate Shazier's impact, but Baker would at least give the Steelers an insurance policy if Shazier is not going to return to the field.

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