2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Order and Predictions After Super Bowl 52

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2018

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, 2018 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As soon as the clock hit zero on the Philadelphia Eagles' victory Sunday night, the offseason officially began.

While there is plenty of time for the players and fans to celebrate the recent title, front offices for all 32 teams are already preparing to upgrade their rosters for 2018. This spring could especially be important for those looking for a new franchise quarterback, whether through free agency, trades or the draft.

There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the incoming class of quarterbacks, but these players and more will help create an exciting draft season with a lot of surprises. Here is a look at the latest predictions for Round 1 of the NFL draft following Super Bowl LII.

                    

2018 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

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

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

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

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

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

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

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: Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

13. Washington Redskins: Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College

14. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

15. Arizona Cardinals: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

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: Derwin James, S, Florida State

21. Buffalo Bills: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

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

23. Los Angeles Rams: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

24. Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

25. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

26. Atlanta Falcons: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

27. New Orleans Saints: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

31. New England Patriots: Arden Key, OLB, LSU

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

*Order pending coin flip.

           

Quarterback Landing Spots

Sam Darnold to Browns

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 I
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have gone long enough without finding a quarterback, and while DeShone Kizer showed flashes during his rookie year, he finished dead last among qualified players in quarterback rating this year.

While the team needs to take a quarterback with the first pick, there are quite a few options to choose from. It's also important to find a player who wants to be in Cleveland.

Josh Rosen has indicated he would rather go elsewhere, but Sam Darnold would love to be the first player taken.

"To be the No. 1 pick, that would be so special," he said in December, per Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com.

Besides his willingness to play for the Browns, Darnold also has as much talent as anyone in the class. His 13 interceptions from last year remain a concern, but he is an accurate thrower who can hit receivers all over the field.

The Browns would still need to provide more help, but the USC star has all the tools needed to eventually be the face of the franchise.

              

Josh Rosen to Jets

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins throws a pass during the NCAA college football game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Ge
Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

When he is on the field, Josh Rosen is as good as they come.

The 6'4" passer has good size for the position, a strong arm and good accuracy. As he showed all year long behind a weak offensive line, he also has the ability to make throws downfield even under pressure. 

As Ryan McCrystal of Bleacher Report noted, most of the complaints are off-field concerns:

Of course, even these arguments are questionable. He has suffered injuries, but concussions were his problem in 2017, rather than anything due to a lack of size. The "attitude" problems are also more about him simply being genuine and not speaking in cliches, like his shots at the NCAA

In reality, Rosen is an extremely talented player who is ready to make an early impact in the NFL.

The Jets need someone it can rely upon at the position, and he could be the difference-maker who helps jump-start the rebuild.

              

Baker Mayfield to Cardinals

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The biggest name in the NFL draft might also be the most heavily debated between now and April. 

Baker Mayfield was the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner after throwing 43 touchdowns and six interceptions this past year at Oklahoma. While he was helped out by the talent around him, Pro Football Focus saw him as the top player in the country at his position:

Mayfield completed 70.5 percent of his passes, his second straight season topping 70 percent. He is extremely accurate, often finding receivers in stride to help create more yards after the catch.

Perhaps most impressively, the quarterback knows how to use his athleticism to move around in the pocket and create more time for himself before finding targets down the field.

The question marks are clear, including whether his size at 6'1" is enough to succeed in the NFL. He also doesn't have a strong arm, especially compared to the others in the class.

With the Cardinals needing a replacement for Carson Palmer, however, Mayfield would be a great addition as someone who could likely start from Week 1.

          

Josh Allen to Bills

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 2:  Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Wyoming Cowboys warms up before the match-up 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

The Bills clearly don't believe in Tyrod Taylor as a long-term option and should take a quarterback in the first round. This could lead to them grabbing divisive prospect Josh Allen.

Allen had just 1,812 passing yards in 11 games this year at Wyoming, completing 56.3 percent of his passes. The talent around him wasn't great, but neither was his competition in the FCS.

What scouts do love is his size at 6'5" with great athleticism, plus arguably the strongest arm in the class. He can fire the ball down the field or squeeze it into tight windows if necessary.

He also showed his confidence in his ability at the Senior Bowl, via Dan Salomone of Giants.com:

"Looking back at guys like [Brett] Favre and [Aaron] Rodgers, they're not afraid to put it in any spot on the field. I've got kind of the same [gunslinger] mindset. I've got a good enough arm to do it, but I understand in the NFL guys get faster, they get smarter. It's hard to complete balls in the NFL. So being more accurate and making better decisions with the football is what I want to do."

Allen might be too raw to draft in the top 10, but his upside is enough for some team to take him in Round 1, and the Bills could be that team.

            

Mason Rudolph to Saints

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 04: Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys looks to throw against the Oklahoma Sooners at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Oklahoma State 62-52.  (Photo by B
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Like Mayfield, Mason Rudolph put up huge numbers at the college level, leading all of FBS with 4,904 passing yards.

Unlike his Big 12 rival, Rudolph also has excellent size at 6'5", 230 pounds with a strong enough arm to succeed in the NFL. 

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports, who lists the Oklahoma State player as his No. 1 quarterback in the class, broke down his reasoning for his faith:

Of course, Rudolph did benefit from his system and receiver James Washington making plays down the field. He also doesn't have the athleticism of some others in the class, limiting his potential.

Still, he could learn from Drew Brees before potentially taking over down the line.

While the Saints are built to win now, it's also a young roster that can succeed for years if they find Brees' successor at quarterback. The veteran won't like this move, but it might be the best thing for the franchise.

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