NFL Mock Draft 2018: Prospects Who Will Shape Complexion of 1st Round

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2018

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Malik Harrison #39 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans out of bounds in the second half of the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between USC and Ohio State at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State won 24-7.  (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

As illustrated in Super Bowl LII, even some of the NFL's best teams still need some help with its roster.

While the New England Patriots lost this year's Super Bowl by eight points, their defense surrendered 538 total yards to the Eagles, who were without the services of quarterback Carson Wentz.

While playing cornerback Malcolm Butler could've been an easy fix for the Patriots, it became abundantly clear that in free agency and in the upcoming NFL draft, New England will have to get some defensive players to sure up that side of the ball.

Luckily for Bill Belichick and his coaching staff, this year's draft class is full of difference-makers on both offense and defense who could be available late in the draft.

What happens at the top of the first round regarding the first few picks will impact how other teams will draft. In nearly every draft, things don't always go as we all think: Some teams throw out smoke screens, some players mysteriously fall on draft night, and others reach for a player that doesn't pan out.

Below, we'll take a look at some scenarios that could alter how the first round plays out, including a possible first round that sees four quarterbacks gone within the first 10 picks. 


NFL Mock Draft (Post-Super Bowl)

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

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

4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston): Derwin James, S, Florida State

5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

6. New York Jets: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

*9. San Francisco 49ers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame 

*10. Oakland Raiders: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

13. Washington Redskins: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

16. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

18. Seattle Seahawks: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

19. Dallas Cowboys: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

20. Detroit Lions: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

21. Buffalo Bills: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City): Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

23. Los Angeles Rams: Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College 

24. Carolina Panthers: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

25. Tennessee Titans: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE/OLB, Oklahoma

26. Atlanta Falcons: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

27. New Orleans Saints: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

30. Minnesota Vikings: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

31. New England Patriots: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

* An asterisk next to a team's name means that its draft position isn't set yet and will be decided upon via coin flip. 


First-Round Outlook

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

This might sound obvious, but the first player chosen in this year's NFL draft will set the tone for the rest of the first round. Shocker, I know.

But in all seriousness, the Cleveland Browns can do a lot of things with this selection as they have two-top four picks. At No. 1, the Browns could take quarterback Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Allen of Wyoming or Josh Rosen of UCLA.

Rosen could potentially be the best of the bunch and has already talked about his desire to stay away from Cleveland. Allen has embraced the idea of turning around the Browns franchise, but he comes with risks of his own.

The Browns could play it safe and draft a defensive stud like Bradley Chubb to pair him last year's No. 1 selection, Myles Garrett, but when have the Browns ever made a smart decision in the draft two years in a row?

If Darnold goes No. 1, expect the quarterback run to begin with the New York Giants selecting their quarterback of the future despite Eli Manning still being on the roster. After all, Manning could even retire, become a hit on Dancing with the Stars and let Rosen take over under center.

When Darnold and Rosen are off the board, teams will have to take a deep look at the rest of the signal-callers available. Allen, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield could each have their name called in the first round, but figuring out a landing spot is where it gets tricky. 

The Denver Broncos, at No. 5, could use a quarterback and so could the New York Jets at No. 6. Is it possible to have four quarterbacks gone in the first six picks of the draft? Absolutely. After all, the NFL had a lot of bad quarterbacks who played this past season.

If this quarterback run does happen, there will be a lot of happy teams in the top 10 that will look to pick up some elite defensive talents such as Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James. 

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Rodney Anderson #24 of the Oklahoma Sooners breaks away from Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northweste
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Smith, who could easily be the best defensive player in this year's draft despite being a tad undersized at 6'1" and 225 pounds, could be an excellent pickup for a number of teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders. Smith could create a formidable and athletic duo with Lavonte David in Tampa Bay or a fierce linebacker with Khalil Mack in Oakland. 

For defensive backs like Fitzpatrick and James, they could land anywhere from Nos. 5 to 14. 

Fitzpatrick would be a fit with any team in the top 10, but he really fits in with the Miami Dolphins at No. 11, if he fell that far. 

While it's impossible to predict the future, one thing for certain regarding the NFL draft: Anything can happen on draft night. 


    Pats Are Doomed If Gordon Doesn't Fit

    NFL logo

    Pats Are Doomed If Gordon Doesn't Fit

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    Gronk: 'I'm Not Going Anywhere Without Brady'

    NFL logo

    Gronk: 'I'm Not Going Anywhere Without Brady'

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Team Grades for Week 3 ✏️

    NFL logo

    NFL Team Grades for Week 3 ✏️

    Kristopher Knox
    via Bleacher Report

    Pats' Struggles Continue in Loss to Lions

    NFL logo

    Pats' Struggles Continue in Loss to Lions

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report