2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions, Top Prospects After CFP Championship

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a reception for a touchdown in the first quarter of the AllState Sugar Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The college football season is now over, and for a lot of top players the focus turns to the NFL.

There is a long way to go before the start of the 2018 draft, with All-Star games, the scouting combine, pro days and many more events capable of raising or lowering a player's stock. Still, the film provided in their collegiate career will likely carry the most weight, and that case is now closed.

The question now is which NFL teams will find the right fit for their rosters in the first round.


NFL Mock Draft 1st Round

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

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3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

4. Cleveland Browns (via Texans): Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

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

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

8. Chicago Bears: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

9.* San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

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

11. Miami Dolphins: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

13. Washington Redskins: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

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

15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

16. Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

18. Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

19. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

20. Detroit Lions: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

21. Buffalo Bills: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama

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

23. Los Angeles Rams: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

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

25. Tennessee Titans: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma

26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan

27. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

28. New Orleans Saints: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

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

32. New England Patriots: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

*Order pending coin flip. Final eight picks subject to change following the completion of the playoffs.


Notable Picks

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30:  Saquon Barkley #26 of Penn State Nittany Lions runs with the ball against the Washington Huskies during the Playstation Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Ha
Norm Hall/Getty Images

You will hear a lot about running back Saquon Barkley during draft season because he is a special player.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network had high praise for the Penn State star:

Barkley proved to be an exceptional runner behind an inconsistent offensive line, tallying over 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground in each of the last two seasons. What separates him, however, is his ability to make an impact in multiple ways.

The running back caught 54 passes for 632 yards this year, also adding two touchdowns on kick returns.

While the Giants might want to move on from Eli Manning, the veteran is still a capable quarterback and can lead an offense when he has talent around him. Adding Barkley would transform the offense and make things a lot easier for everyone else on the roster.

If the team can remain healthy, Barkley is the type of game-changer that can get New York back into the postseason after a miserable year.


Washington Redskins: Baker Mayfield

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, 2
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

There will be a lot of debate about the quarterbacks in this draft, with each providing different strengths and weaknesses. Few will be more divisive than Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner this past season at Oklahoma.

The quarterback is a bit undersized, listed at 6'1", and he has benefited from a spread offense where he threw for 43 touchdowns and only six interceptions this season. There are also supposed problems with his attitude, where he has been forced to apologize for trash talking and other actions.

However, others see it as a positive.

"His competitive toughness is off the charts," Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said after the Rose Bowl, per Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com. "You see teams with great quarterbacks over the years—whether they're college or pro players—they all have those same set of traits."

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin called him "a new-age Brett Favre."

If his rivals see the value in Mayfield's competitiveness, his future NFL coaches should as well. He can make all the throws with the athleticism to move around the pocket as needed.

Assuming the Redskins don't hold onto Kirk Cousins, Mayfield would be a quality alternative who can play immediately.


Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 18: Maurice Hurst #73 of the Michigan Wolverines in action during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin won 24-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After spending several picks last season to get younger in the secondary, the Cowboys should do the same with the front seven.

Maurice Hurst could be a perfect addition in the middle of the defensive line as an elite run-stopper who can contribute right out of the gate. He has excellent strength and explosiveness that allows him to penetrate into the backfield and blow up an opponent's play.

The tackle has also shown the ability to rush the passer with 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons from the interior.

Demarcus Lawrence took a big step up for the Cowboys as an edge-rusher this past season, but adding more production from the middle could make this defense even more dangerous. Pairing Hurst with former teammate Taco Charlton is just an added bonus.


Los Angeles Rams: Josh Jackson

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 18:  Defensive back Josh Jackson #15 of the Iowa Hawkeyes before the match-up against the Purdue Boilermakers on November 18, 2017 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

When you lead the nation with eight interceptions, scouts are certain to take notice. When one of your interceptions is one of the best individual plays of the season, it's hard to look away:

Josh Jackson has outstanding athleticism and ball skills that could help him continue to force turnovers at the next level. 

Although he is still relatively raw at the position, the Iowa cornerback has the tools to be a shutdown player if he continues to improve.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports already thinks he was one of the best players on his side of the football:

The Rams had a good pass defense this season, but there are still question marks at cornerback outside of Trumaine Johnson. Adding a steady player with a lot of upside like Jackson could turn this unit into one of the best in the NFL.