NFL Draft 2018: Updated 1st-Round Mock Draft Entering Week 17

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2017

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates his touchdown pass for a 7-3 lead over the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Rose Bowl on November 24, 2017 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

One week is standing between 20 NFL fanbases and the official start of draft season. 

That means it's time to fire up a new mock draft, complete with updated projections that reflect teams' most pressing positional needs in advance of the 2018 campaign. 

We'll also provide an overview of a few notable team-player fits that could help clubs take a step forward following disappointing 2017 seasons. 

As a reminder, the draft order below is based on the standings through Week 16 and will be subject to change once the regular season comes to a close.  


Updated Mock

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
6. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
7. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
8. San Francisco 49ers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
9. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
10. Cincinnati Bengals: Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame
11. Oakland Raiders: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
12. Miami Dolphins: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
13. Arizona CardinalsDenzel Ward, CB, Ohio State 
14. Green Bay Packers: Mike McGlinchey, OL, Notre Dame
15. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, DB, Florida State
16. Los Angeles Chargers: Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
17. Dallas Cowboys: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
18. Buffalo Bills: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
19. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
20. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
21. Tennessee Titans: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
22. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
23. Baltimore RavensCourtland Sutton, WR, SMU
24. Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
25. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
26. New Orleans Saints: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
28. Los Angeles Rams: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
30. Minnesota Vikings: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
31. New England Patriots: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn


Prospect Breakdown

New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

More than anything, it looks like the 2018 draft is going to be defined by its quarterback class.  

Josh Rosen has made that much clear his desire to suit up for a stable franchise, even if it means not being selected No. 1 overall. 

"I'd rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher [pick] at the wrong team," Rosen said Tuesday, according to ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss

That quote came two days after ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reported Rosen "would be hesitant to declare for next year's NFL draft if he knew that (the Cleveland Browns were) going to take him with the No. 1 overall pick." 

Schefter added Rosen "would rather be with a more stable franchise, such as the [New York] Giants."

While it's still unclear if the Browns are keen on Rosen with the draft's first pick—which they secured by virtue of a Week 16 loss to the Chicago Bears—it's evident the UCLA product is putting on a pre-emptive press to try to wiggle his way out of a future with a franchise that's cycled through signal-callers at an alarming rate over the past two decades. 

If that strategy proves effective, Rosen would be a logical fit for the Giants at No. 2 overall, especially after vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross "personally went to scout" the 20-year-old in November, according to ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan


New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Debate is sure to rage over the next few months regarding Baker Mayfield's status as a potential first-round draft pick. 

But if his 2017 season was any indication, the newly-minted Heisman Trophy winner could make one team quite happy when he makes the leap to the NFL. 

As a senior, Mayfield completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,340 yards, 41 touchdowns and five interceptions while making big strides as a conventional dropback passer.

According to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, Mayfield "has shown tremendous improvement in his ability to deal from the pocket" and "has really boosted his draft stock."

"He's a pinpoint passer with outstanding timing and anticipation," Brooks added. "Mayfield is one of the best 'catch-and-fire' tossers that I've ever seen, exhibiting a quick release and versatile delivery that allows him to work around defenders in his throwing lane. Mayfield's unique delivery allows him to play among trees in the pocket, which is critical for a short QB1 in the league."

Pegging a 6'1'' signal-caller as the face of your franchise can be risky, but Mayfield's arm talent and creativity on the run should make him an intriguing option for the New York Jets as they continue to pine for stability under center. 


Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 28:  Saquon Barkley #26 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs with the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Penn Statte 39-38.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Im
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Browns need offensive firepower in the worst way. 

Here's the good news: With two picks likely to fall in the top five by virtue of their 2017 draft-day trade with the Houston Texans, the Browns will be in position to add the playmakers they need following a disastrous season. 

That should be music to the ears of new general manager John Dorsey—who can take his shot at the top of the draft on a quarterback while still nabbing the most explosive open-field player the class of 2018 has to offer in Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. 

If the Browns can pull off that one-two punch, they'll tout the kind of young core they've long dreamed of. 

And tactically speaking, Barkley could be in a position to succeed from the outset since the Browns have the NFL's fourth-highest-paid offensive line anchored by left tackle Joe Thomas, left guard Joel Bitonio and right guard Kevin Zeitler. 


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