2018 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions For Every Team Ahead of Super Bowl

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2018

Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley (3) runs downfield during warmups prior to an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

The 2018 NFL draft is going to be all about the quarterback class, but there are plenty of other talented prospects who will make an impact right away.

A few of the teams in the top 10 will shy away from the QB position as they look to fill more immediate needs with players such as NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

We'll also see many players from the same position taken in the first round, with plenty of first-round caliber offensive and defensive linemen available for selection.

Below is a look at our mock draft before Super Bowl Sunday, and an in-depth view of what some first-round storylines may be.


NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

4. Cleveland Browns: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

*9. San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

*10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

13. Washington Redskins: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

14. Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

16. Baltimore Ravens: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

19. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

20. Detroit Lions: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

21. Buffalo Bills: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

22. Buffalo Bills: Arden Key, DE, LSU

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

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

25. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

27. New Orleans Saints: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

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

30. Minnesota Vikings: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan

31. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derwin James, S, Florida State

*Pick Nos. 9 and 10 will be decided by a coin flip.


Calvin Ridley Will Be 1st Wide Receiver Selected

Teams already with a franchise quarterback on the roster will covet Alabama's Calvin Ridley.

The most logical destination for the national champion wide receiver is the Chicago Bears at the No. 8 pick.

New head coach Matt Nagy will be in the market for a young weapon to develop into quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's No. 1 receiver, and Ridley should be his guy.

There will be concerns from some front offices about Ridley entering the NFL at 23, but his raw ability should silence any critics ahead of the draft.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide fails to make a catch against Deandre Baker #18 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8,
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Unless one of the top seven teams in the first round makes an unexpected pick or a team trades ahead of the Bears to select Ridley, the Alabama wide receiver should be theirs for the taking.

Even though he's the first receiver off the board in our mock draft, Ridley isn't the only talented college wideout who will be chosen in the first round.

Look for Oklahoma State's James Washington to continue his rise up draft boards, while Texas A&M Christian Kirk and SMU's Courtland Sutton are intriguing options later in the first round for teams looking to bolster their depth chart at the position.


Run on Interior Players Expected at Some Point

In every draft, we witness runs on certain positions due to a variety of reasons. 

The top positional trend in the middle of the first round this year will see offensive and defensive linemen selected in bunches.

After the Baltimore Ravens select at No. 16, there's a group of teams in need of help on the interior, starting with the Los Angeles Chargers at the No. 17 pick.

Seattle, Dallas, Detroit and Buffalo are all in the market for help on the interior, as are Tennessee and Atlanta further down the first round.

On the defensive side of the ball, Washington's Vita Vea, Alabama's Da'Ron Payne and Harold Landry of Boston College are some of the prospects expected to be available at this point in the draft.

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30:  Vita Vea #50 of the Washington Huskies attempts to tackle Saquon Barkley #26 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the Playstation Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Phot
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame, Texas' Connor Williams and Isaiah Wynn of Georgia are some of the offensive linemen worth watching.

If the draft board falls a certain way, the Chargers could have their pick of the litter with the 17th pick, and their selection could alter the thinking of the four teams directly below them.

The only way the run on linemen will get interrupted is if a team wants to trade up to one of those positions to select a player they didn't believe would be available.


Keep an Eye on the Saints

The New Orleans Saints struck gold in the 2017 NFL draft when they selected defensive back Marshon Lattimore and running back Alvin Kamara, who were instant stars in their rookie seasons.

Thanks to their impeccable draft a year ago, the Saints are in a good position to take a risk and find a player to develop for the future at the No. 27 overall pick.

One potential avenue they could take involves choosing a quarterback in the first round to serve as the successor to Drew Brees.

The Washington Redskins are already out of the quarterback market, and one or two potential suitors for the group of draft-eligible signal-callers could join them depending on what occurs in free agency.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bac
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Developments from now until April could pave the way for the Saints to sneak up the draft by way of a trade to take one of the remaining QBs, who would learn under the 39-year-old Brees before taking the reins in a few years or sooner.

Sean Payton's team has the capability to package picks to move up, if necessary, as it has seven selections after the second round.

New Orleans could also wait for its turn at the 27th pick and take the best player available, which we currently have as Courtland Sutton.


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