2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Prospects Who Would Best Help Each Team

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2018

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans looks for an open receiver against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Quarterbacks are going to dominate the conversation surrounding the 2018 NFL draft. It's possible five signal-callers could get selected inside the top 10 depending on which underclassmen officially declare and whether there are any trades impacting the early portion of Round 1.

That's great news for teams already set at the sport's most important position because the top players at other spots should slide down the board a bit. An example is Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has top-five talent but could still be available in the middle of the opening round.

Let's check out a complete mock draft for the first 32 picks, which still has plenty of room for movement as the class is finalized after the Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen as well as changes that come from prospects who rise and fall during the draft process.


1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

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2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

5. Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

8. Chicago Bears: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

9. Oakland Raiders: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

10. San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

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

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

13. Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS, Alabama

14. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

16. Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

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

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

19. Dallas Cowboys: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

20. Detroit Lions: Arden Key, DE, LSU

21. Buffalo Bills: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

22. Atlanta Falcons: Derwin James, SS, FSU

23. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

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

25. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

26. New Orleans Saints: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

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

29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnie Harrison, SS, Alabama

30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, OL, Ohio State

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

32. New England Patriots: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU


Most Intriguing Fits

Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Sam Darnold will be another case study in the value of tools against numbers. His arm talent compares favorably against anybody in the stacked QB class. He's capable of making any throw against any coverage, and he's also got the athleticism to move the pocket when needed.

After an impressive freshman campaign that included a 67.2 percent completion rate with 31 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, his stats dropped off considerably in 2017. He completed 63.1 percent of his throws with 26 TDs through the air, 13 picks and eight fumbles lost.

The 20-year-old California native also finished the season on a low note, failing to record a touchdown in the USC Trojans' 24-7 loss to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

Afterward, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com suggested a lack of support for Darnold must be considered after facing a Buckeyes' defense filled with potential NFL players:

"It was a disappointing night for Darnold, obviously, but I don't think his performance was as bad as some are making it out to be. People are acting like the sky is falling. It's not.

"The degree of difficulty for him Friday was off the charts. He had no support from the run game and little help from his pass protection. He was constantly in third-and-long situations. There were no layups for him."

Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports also defended the USC quarterback:

Colin Cowherd @ColinCowherd

Coaching elevates QB play. Matt Ryan isn't quite as sharp this year is he? And Jared Goff suddenly looks pretty good. Sam Darnold deserves better. So does Andrew luck. Why Jimmy G is going to be a rock star. Gr8 skills w tremendous HC.

Going to a Broncos organization run by legendary QB John Elway, who led the franchise to a pair of Super Bowl titles and now serves as its general manager, would ensure his development is watched by somebody with deep knowledge of what it takes for someone at the position to succeed.

While that's ideal for the long term, his immediate fortunes would be boosted by potentially stepping right into a starting lineup that includes two dangerous targets in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. That would help increase the margin for error as he tries to turn his raw tools into NFL success.


New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield is a fascinating prospect due to the sheer volume of points and counterpoints in his evaluation.

He's got electric playmaking ability, but his combative on-field personality is a concern for some. He's the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but his 6'1" frame doesn't match the NFL prototype.

While executives will debate those traits, both tangible and intangible, the numbers are hard to ignore. The 22-year-old polarizing prospect threw 131 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions in 48 collegiate games, and he added 1,085 yards from scrimmage and 22 TDs, including a touchdown catch as a senior.

Benjamin Allbright‏ of Mile High Sports Radio provided his take:

Benjamin Allbright @AllbrightNFL

If Baker Mayfield was two inches taller, he'd be the consensus top pick. So do me a favor, stand on your tip toes. Will give you an extra two+ inches. Tell me what difference it makes for you in what you see.

From the outside, he feels like a perfect fit to reinvigorate the New York Jets and their diehard fanbase. The franchise has been stuck in neutral across the last seven playoff-less seasons and fixing the quarterback situation is the biggest key to ending that drought.

Mayfield is the type of player who appears ready to embrace that challenge, while also having a willingness to handle the media pressure associated with the New York market.

It's a pick that would come with boom-or-bust implications, but the team could use the jolt he would bring.


San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The biggest negative attached to Calvin Ridley's draft stock is his age. He'll turn 24 during his rookie season in the NFL, assuming he enters the 2018 class. By comparison, fellow Alabama standout Amari Cooper will also be 24 next season and already has three pro seasons under his belt.

He's ready to make an instant impact at the next level, though. He's made 220 catches across three years with the Tide, including 59 grabs for 935 yards and four touchdowns this season heading into next week's national championship game against Georgia.

Dion Caputi of the National Football Post liked what the wideout did in the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Clemson:

Dion Caputi @nfldraftupdate

Calvin Ridley has the type of lightning-quick feet that can make dudes look silly off the snap. He'll be a tough matchup in press-man at the next level. #SugarBowl

The Niners hope they've found the quarterback of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo, who led the team on a five-game winning streak down the stretch after being acquired from the New England Patriots earlier in the season. Now they have to put more talent around him on offense.

Running back Carlos Hyde was San Francisco's top pass-catcher with 59 grabs, which underscores the need to improve at wide receiver.

Ridley would receive a golden opportunity to immediately become the offense's top target in the passing game.


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