2018 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Updated 1st-Round Order

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Defensive End Bradley Chubb #9 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on September 23, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. NC State defeated Florida State 27 to 21. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The national spotlight has shifted away from the NFL draft process for now, but teams are still working vigorously behind the scenes to properly grade each prospect.

As of Sunday, all 32 coaching staffs in the NFL are put together following the hiring of Frank Reich as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

How the Colts approach the draft with Reich in charge could alter the shape of the first round, especially if he makes a bold move with his first-ever selection as head coach.

Here's a look at how the first round could play out, along with a few scenarios that would change the course of the selections on April 26.


NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

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: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

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

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

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

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

*10. Oakland Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

11. Miami Dolphins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

13. Washington Redskins: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

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

15. Arizona Cardinals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

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

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

18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

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: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

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: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

30. Minnesota Vikings: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford

31. New England Patriots: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

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

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


Will Reich's Hiring Change Colts' Draft Strategy?

After being spurned by Josh McDaniels, the Indianapolis Colts finally found their head coach in Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich.

The former quarterback, who most famously played for the Buffalo Bills, helped guide the Eagles to the Super Bowl with backup Nick Foles at the helm.

Now Reich has a chance to make his imprint on the Colts, and since he's an offensive mind, he could look to improve the offense before choosing one of the top defensive players in the talent pool.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles talks to offensive coordinator Frank Reich during rookie camp at the NovaCare Complex on May 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The pick for the Colts should still be NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, but Penn State running back Saquon Barkley wouldn't be a bad choice as Reich looks to stamp an identity on his team.

Then there's the most shocking option in which Reich selects a quarterback of his own to work with, a move that would wreak all sorts of havoc beneath the No. 3 pick as teams try to lock up their future franchise quarterbacks.

Of course, the Colts could always listen to offers from teams interested in the No. 3 pick and make a deal as well.

Regardless of what Indianapolis ends up doing, it sits in an advantageous position and should only benefit from whatever occurs.


Would Buffalo Consider Packaging Its Pair of 1st-Round Picks in a Trade?

The Buffalo Bills are in an interesting position with the No. 21 and No. 22 picks. 

The easy path for the Bills to take with their picks is to fill needs on the interior and possibly go after a quarterback in the later rounds.

However, the Bills are one of the few teams that would be capable of trading into the top 10 because of their pair of first-round picks.

If Buffalo believes one of the four top quarterback prospects fit their scheme, and Tyrod Taylor is officially not the answer, a trade could occur with a variety of teams.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills throws a second quarter pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at EverBank Field on January 7, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by M
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Colts seem like the obvious trade partner given their position at No. 3, which would guarantee Buffalo a shot at at least two of the quartet including Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield.

As we all know, anything can happen in the first round on the day of the draft, and an unlikely selection or two could occur, which could lead to a potential Bills trade into the bottom half of the top 10, a deal that may come at a cheaper price.


Buccaneers In Ideal Position to Take Impact Defender

Regardless of who gets drafted with the first six picks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should get to pick from a group of talented defenders at No. 7.

If the top of the first round leans toward offensive players, the Buccaneers could get fortunate and land Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Fitzpatrick is a versatile defensive back who brings an extra element to any defense, as he's not afraid to creep up in the box and make an impact on the blitz.

If one of the six teams ahead of Tampa Bay swoops Fitzpatrick, is swooped up by one of the six teams ahead of it, Tampa Bay will get to choose from a large corps of linebackers led by Georgia's Roquan Smith, or it could go after a pass-rusher in Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport.

With a need for defensive backs, the Buccaneers could also go after Ohio State's Denzel Ward, or one of the other top corner prospects if Fitzpatrick is off the board.

However, if Fitzpatrick is available, the decision to select him is an easy one, as he's one of the few players in the draft who can make an impact in Week 1.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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