2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Projections, Top Prospects Ahead of Super Bowl

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2018

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen (17) avoids a tackle from Oregon inside linebacker Troy Dey (35) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Laramie, Wyo., Saturday, Sept.16, 2017. (AP Photo/Shannon Broderick)
Shannon Broderick/Associated Press

As the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots prepare for the Super Bowl, the other 30 teams around the NFL are focused solely on the NFL draft.

This is one of the biggest weeks of the predraft process for teams and prospects, as coaches, general managers and scouts are gathered in Mobile, Alabama, for the 2018 Senior Bowl. 

Most of the elite prospects either aren't invited due to their underclassmen status, or chose to sit out the game, however, there are a few prospects in Mobile who could sneak into the first round. 

Here's a look at an updated mock draft, followed by a closer examination of three potential first-round talents who are participating in the Senior Bowl this week. 


1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

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

3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State   

4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

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

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

9. *San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State   

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

11. Miami Dolphins: Derwin James, S, Florida State

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington 

14. Green Bay Packers: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State

15. Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

16. Baltimore Ravens: Arden Key, DE, LSU

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma 

18. Seattle Seahawks: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

19. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

20. Detroit Lions: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

21. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

22. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

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

24. Carolina Panthers: Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College

25. Tennessee Titans: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

26. Atlanta Falcons: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

27. New Orleans Saints: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado  

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronald Jones, RB, USC 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

30. Minnesota Vikings: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

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

*49ers and Raiders selection order will be determined by coin flip at NFL combine. 


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Davenport

This year's draft class is light on pass-rushers, especially at the top of the board. That could allow a raw, small-school prospect like Marcus Davenport to rise into the top 10. 

ESPN analyst and former NFL safety Matt Bowen is among those who have already been impressed with Davenport's performance at the Senior Bowl:

Matt Bowen @MattBowen41

UTSA DE Marcus Davenport (6-foot-6, 259 pounds) has already shown flashes of his power at the Senior Bowl workouts, both during individual drills and one-on-one pass rush. Davenport's technique is still raw on film, but he has natural strength at the... https://t.co/vcQIiVj1h5

Davenport's length is one of the traits that has teams excited about his potential. He was measured at 6'5" with an 81" wingspan at the Senior Bowl. That type of size and length gives pass-rushers an edge, and if Davenport can win battles on the field this week, he should solidify his place as a first-round prospect. 

The Buccaneers, who generated just 22 sacks in 2017, will be among the teams keeping an eye on Davenport's performance. 


21. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen

In terms of raw physical tools, Wyoming's Josh Allen is special prospect. His combination of arm strength and mobility puts him in an elite class, and both NFL coaches and general managers are suckers for the tools you can't teach. 

However, when it comes to performance on the field, Allen has lot of questions to answer, and he's well aware of this fact. Troy Renck of Denver7 shared some of Allen's comments on what he's hoping to prove at the Senior Bowl:

Troy Renck @TroyRenck

#Wyoming's Josh Allen loved that Elway showed up for his bowl game. He's hoping to make impression on #Broncos coaches this week. "People know my arm strength. I want to show them the accuracy." Allen told me he once threw ball 82 yards in practice. #Denver7 https://t.co/x4ieDDcJ3B

Allen's accuracy is an issue at all levels of the field, and it will be the area of his game dissected most closely in Mobile. His misses are often linked to poor footwork, so the Senior Bowl practices will provide him an opportunity to show scouts what he has worked on so far this offseason.

Purely based on his raw skill set, Allen is going to get serious consideration as a first-round prospect. He probably fits best with a team like the Bills. 

Throwing a flawed quarterback like Allen into an immediate starting role is a surefire way to keep his bad habits ingrained, however. His future employer would be wise to let him develop on the sidelines for a year or two before handing him the keys to the offense. 


30. Minnesota Vikings: Tyrell Crosby

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

One of the players who rose up draft boards the most this year was Oregon left tackle Tyrell Crosby. 

Crosby is still a work in progress in pass protection, which is the area of his game scouts will be focusing on at the Senior Bowl. As a run-blocker, however, Crosby has already proved his worth. 

A team like the Vikings could be an ideal fit for Crosby due to their desire to rely on the run game. With second-year running back Dalvin Cook hopefully coming back healthy in 2018, adding another powerful blocker like Crosby could elevate the Vikings run game to an elite level. 

If drafted by Minnesota, Crosby would likely get plugged in at right tackle, although other teams may view him as an option at left tackle as well. He started at both positions during his career at Oregon.