NFL Draft 2018: 1st-Round Mock Draft After Super Bowl

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2018

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Connor Williams #55 of the Texas Longhorns blocks Tony Jones #9 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the fourth quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 24, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The celebration is on for the Philadelphia Eagles, who defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. But the front office has little time to rejoice.

Come February 27, team personnel from all 32 franchises will converge at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.

And once the bulk of free agents are signed, teams will have an even clearer understanding of their roster needs.

Additionally, the trade sending Alex Smith to Washington has guaranteed Kirk Cousins will hit free agency. He could fill the void for a quarterback-needy team at the top of the first round, so Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen could slide in the draft.

Note: A coin flip during the combine will determine whether the Oakland Raiders or San Francisco 49ers will select No. 9 overall.

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: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
*9. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
*10. San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
13. Washington: Arden Key, DE, LSU
14. Green Bay Packers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
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, Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
21. Buffalo Bills: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
22. Buffalo Bills (via KC): Billy Price, OL, Ohio State
23. Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
24. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
26. Atlanta Falcons: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
27. New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
31. New England Patriots: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA


Connor Williams, OT, Texas

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  Jerrod Heard #13 of the Texas Longhorns takes a direct snap in the third quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Tim Warner/Getty Images

In this projection, Connor Williams is the biggest beneficiary of Cousins' impending free agency. The Jets are expected to heavily pursue the 29-year-old, and we're giving them the nod here.

Subsequently, New York can focus its attention elsewhere with the No. 6 overall pick. Williams won't catch passes from Cousins, but he sure would help the quarterback complete more of them.

A second-team AP All-America honoree in 2016, Williams rarely allowed his QB to be pressured in an injury-shortened 2017 campaign. He returned for the regular-season finale before sitting out the Texas Bowl, so there should be no concerns about the left tackle's health.

Williams would immediately slot in as a starter. Drafting him would allow New York to make Kelvin Beachum the right tackle and move Brandon Shell to a role as the primary backup.

The possibility of finding a franchise quarterback and left tackle in the same offseason is a best-case scenario for New York.


Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, VA - OCTOBER 21: Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds #49 of the Virginia Tech Hokies sacks quarterback Chazz Surratt #12 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half at Lane Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Michael
Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Should the Broncos land Cousins, Tremaine Edmunds would be a popular choice to rise in the draft. At worst, though, the Virginia Tech disruptor should be a Day 1 pick.

Over the last two seasons, the 6'5", 250-pounder racked up 215 total tackles with 32.5 stops for loss and 10 sacks. He added 13 hurries as well as five pass breakups and four forced fumbles.

The Bears, who earned a major offseason win by retaining defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, already have respectable talent on Edmunds' side of the ball. Despite a 5-11 record, Chicago ranked 10th in total yards per game allowed last season.

While that may suggest the Bears should focus on grabbing skill-position talent to surround Mitchell Trubiskyespecially if Alabama wideout Calvin Ridley still available herethis isn't a one-year turnaround. Plus, Chicago can target quality receivers in later rounds.

But the team won't find a defender of Edmunds' caliber after Day 1.


Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

One of the most intriguing first-round prospects, Lamar Jackson seems to have more support in the draft community than NFL circles.

Still, the demands for a quarterback early in the opening round will create late opportunity. Plus, Jackson's key strengthseasily generated velocity and dynamic running abilityshould mean an NFL club on Day 1 is willing to accept his fixable flaws as a passer.

And the Jaguars certainly could use some explosiveness behind center. Blake Bortles is probably coming back in 2018, but he's likely not a long-term option in Jacksonville.

Jackson eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark of total offense as a sophomore and last season as a junior, recording at least 3,500 passing and 1,500 rushing yards in both years. He accounted for 96 touchdowns in those two years while throwing 19 total interceptions.

It's possible Jackson is selected before the Jaguars are on the clock, but he shouldn't fall past the reigning AFC runner-up.


Stats from or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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