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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Projections for Landing Spots of Top Prospects

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2018

North Carolina State's Bradley Chubb warms up for an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Four more slots in the 2018 NFL draft have officially been secured following the Wild Card Round.

The Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers each endured the official end of their season. On the bright side for the Bills, Kansas City's stunning 18-point collapse boosted the position of the first-round draft pick they received as a result of the Chiefs' trade up for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017.

Although the franchises would rather be preparing for a second playoff game, the NFL draft has quickly become a top priority. We're looking toward April 26-28 right along with them.

Roster needs shape this mock, and potential trades are not factored into the selections. Playoff results will affect the order of the final eight picks, which are marked with an asterisk.

Note: A coin flip will determine whether the Raiders or 49ers pick ninth.

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
4. Cleveland Browns (via Hou): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
6. New York Jets: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
8. Chicago Bears: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
9/10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
9/10. San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
13. Washington: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
14. Green Bay Packers: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
15. Arizona Cardinals: Billy Price, OL, Ohio State
16. Baltimore Ravens: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
19. Dallas Cowboys: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
20. Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
21. Buffalo Bills: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
22. Buffalo Bills (via KC): Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
23. Los Angeles Rams: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
24. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
25. *Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
26. *Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
27. *Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
28. *New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
29. *Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
30. *Minnesota Vikings: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
31. *New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
32. *Philadelphia Eagles: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State

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Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

Bradley Chubb stayed for his senior season and rose from a fringe first-rounder to a clear-cut top-10 pick.

A 6'4", 275-pound edge-rusher, Chubb ranked second nationally with 25 tackles for loss in 2017. He recorded 10 sackshis second year in double digitstotaled 69 tackles and forced three fumbles. According to Pro Football Focus, he racked up 55 total pressures.

That level of disruption would be welcomed on a Colts defense that mustered the second-fewest sacks in the NFL this year with 25.

Best of all for Indianapolis, it doesn't matter what system the new coach wants to run. Whether it's a 4-3 or 3-4, Chubb can play as a defensive end or rush-first outside linebacker.

General manager Chris Ballard has steadily torn down the roster in hopes of executing a proper rebuild, and snagging a talent such as Chubb would help the Colts move in a promising direction.

        

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Running backs have slowly fallen out of favor as first-round picks, but many teams won't have qualms about taking Saquon Barkley early.

While he's not the best pure runner at his position, Barkley is easily the most versatile prospect. In addition to eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark on the ground each season at Penn State, he reeled in 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns.

Tampa Bay surely would love to have an edge-rusher like Chubb fall to No. 7. However, that probably won't happen, in which case the Bucs are likely to go for a new featured back.

According to Spotrac, Tampa would have $0 of dead cap money if it waives Doug Martin this offseason. Plus, Charles Sims will be an unrestricted free agent and might not be re-signed.

Barkley could immediately settle the position with his every-down skill set and contribute as a kick returner.

           

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

In today's NFL, a safety with legitimate cover skills is a tremendous asset. Minkah Fitzpatrick opened his Alabama career as a cornerback, shifted to safety as an injury replacement and remained there because of his All-American ability.

And Cleveland sure could use his versatility.

Perhaps it'll be surprising to some given the 0-16 finish, but the Browns boasted a tremendous run defense in 2017. Only the Denver Broncos surrendered fewer yards per carry this season.

But the secondary's performance was the opposite. Cleveland ceded 7.4 yards per pass attempt—which ranked seventh-worst in the NFL—and gave up 28 touchdowns while snagging just seven interceptions.

Fitzpatrick hasn't officially declared but is expected to forgo his final year of eligibility. He collected 171 tackles, 37 pass breakups and nine interceptions at Alabama.

        

Stats from cfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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