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NFL Draft 2018: Updated Mock Draft Ahead of Conference Championships

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2018

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 file photo, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California in Los Angeles. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.  Rosen made the expected announcement Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 with a post on Twitter. He is expected to be a high first-round pick in April. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

In a matter of 10 seconds and one missed tackle, New Orleans Saints supporters went from being excited about an NFC Championship Game appearance to joining 27 other fanbases thinking about the draft.

Only the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings remain in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy. The rest of the NFL is officially in offseason mode.

Before the conference championships kick off, we're taking an early look at what to expect in April. And now that the league's deadline for underclass declarations has passed, franchisesand mock draftscan focus on the players who will be available.

Unfortunately for NFL clubs, they'll need to wait another year for Clemson defensive linemen Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. But a few big-name prospectsincluding Georgia's Roquan Smithwho patiently considered whether to enter the NFL are on the board.

Note: The winner of a coin toss between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers will own the No. 9 pick in the draft.

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: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
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: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
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: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
21. Buffalo Bills: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
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: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
27. New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
29. *Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
30. *Minnesota Vikings: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
31. *New England Patriots: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
32. *Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

                 

Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

David Goldman/Associated Press

He waited until the deadline to announce his intentions, but Roquan Smith is headed to the NFL—and might be a Day 1 starter.

As a junior at Georgia, he accumulated 137 tackles (85 solo) with 14 stops for loss and 6.5 sacks. Smith also recorded eight hurries while breaking up two passes and recovering a fumble.

"While we will miss him," head coach Kirby Smart said in a statement the school released, "we wish him all the best and know that great success awaits him at the next level."

The only question is which NFL club will have the good fortune of landing Smith in the first round. He's likely going to excel in athletic testing at Georgia's pro day and the NFL Scouting Combine. And the tape matches the hype.

Since several teams near the beginning of the opening round are expected to target a quarterback, Smith is a borderline top-10 pick. He'd be an ideal fit for the Oakland Raiders, who have a need at linebacker and will hold either the No. 9 or 10 overall slot.

If the Raiders pass on Smith, the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Washington should all have interest, too.

          

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The end of Joe Flacco's tenure is quietly approaching, but Baltimore needs playmakers to surround him in the meantime.

Derrius Guice fits that billing, given his ultra-efficient production at LSU. The running back led the SEC in yards per carry as a freshman (8.5) and sophomore (7.6) before a down season in his junior year, when Guice still ran for 1,251 yards.

Overall, he collected 3,074 rushing yards and 32 catches for 250 yards during college. Guice scored 32 touchdowns in 35 appearances.

Alex Collins put together a respectable 2017 with 973 yards for the Ravens, and top backup Javorius Allen added 591. They both totaled six scores apiece. However, Collins and Allen combined for just seven gains of 20-plus yards and one 40-yard scamper.

Guice, on the other hand, ripped off 35 runs of 20-plus yardsand 12 gains of 40-plusin his college career.

         

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 2:  Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Wyoming Cowboys looks for a receiver in the third quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes, on September 2, 2017 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger has contemplated retirement in the past, but he's ready for another year with the Steelers.

Following the team's crushing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round, Roethlisberger said he plans to return in 2018, according to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As long as nothing changes with Big Ben, Pittsburgh could spend a first-round pick on a quarterback it can groom for the future. Josh Allen is that type of high-risk, high-reward prospect who isn't ready to start but has an appealing skill set.

Allen has displayed a very live armhe'll likely record the highest velocity of potential first-round quarterbacksand decent mobility. However, his shaky pocket presence and accuracy issues are what make him such a divisive prospect.

During his junior season at Wyoming, Allen managed 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns to just six interceptions in 11 games. He added 204 yards and five scores on the ground.

If Allen falls through most of the first round, the Steelers could snatch him as the hopeful replacement for the aging Roethlisberger.

             

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

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