2018 NFL Mock Draft: Full 1st-Round Projections for Top-Tier Prospects

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 30: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals takes the field prior to the TaxSlayer Bowl against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at EverBank Field on December 30, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2018 NFL draft and the prospect stock market surrounding it remains in a holding pattern with the scouting combine on approach. 

There, sheer chaos breaks loose on an annual basis as prospects turn heads in drills and measurements, as well as potential reported leaks from interviews. The "Underwear Olympics," as they're sometimes called, in many ways is the media simply catching up to how the NFL thinks about certain players and positions, but it doesn't make it any less interesting or important. 

For now, we have interesting debates about project players, a serious debate over the first pick itself and countless other conversations surrounding what finally looks like a deep class at quarterback and along the offensive line. 

Here's a look at an updated mock before everything goes back up in the air.  


2018 NFL 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 (via Houston Texans): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

6. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

8. Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

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

*10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

13. Washington Redskins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

14. Green Bay Packers: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

15. Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

16. Baltimore Ravens: Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

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

19. Dallas Cowboys: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

21. Buffalo Bills: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

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

23. Los Angeles Rams: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State

24. Carolina Panthers: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

25. Tennessee Titans: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

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

27. New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

31. New England Patriots: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC

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


6. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

It seemed like Baker Mayfield would be the most polarizing passer in the class by a mile. 

But here comes the Lamar Jackson drama. 

Mayfield, while outspoken in some ways and enjoying the limelight at times, isn't as much of a mystery as Jackson for some reason or another. Here's former NFL man Bill Polian with an interesting quote, courtesy of SiriusXM NFL Radio: 

SiriusXM NFL Radio @SiriusXMNFL

Bill Polian elaborates on why he believes Lamar Jackson is better suited as a WR in the NFL...... https://t.co/sBTX4mumBh

In other words, the NFL might look at a guy who threw for 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and ran for another 1,601 yards and 18 scores and decide to put him at a different position. 

Or not. 

We can't know exactly what NFL teams will want to do with each prospect, but it seems downright silly a front office and coaching staff would look at a 21-year-old prospect like Jackson and restrict him to another position besides the most important one of all. 

Here, the New York Jets aren't taking a quarterback prospect at No. 6 and converting him to a position he's never played before. Jackson is 6'3" and 211 pounds of sheer upside with a strong arm and wicked ability to make defenders miss as a runner. 

The Jets will need to mold the offense around Jackson's skill set, obviously. Spotty accuracy at times might not go away with coaching, but if a team like the Jets wants to win, it'll implement plenty of RPO (run-pass option) looks just like the Philadelphia Eagles did all year long before winning a Super Bowl with Nick Foles under center. 

Much of a prospect's ability to succeed will come down to fit, as usual. This is especially the case with Jackson, who in the right offense has the tools to put a team on his back. 


13. Washington Redskins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

David Goldman/Associated Press

It's going to be interesting to watch the NFL world come around on Alabama wideout Calvin Ridley.

Ridley, even for an Alabama product sought out by Nick Saban, leads up a ho-hum class of receivers, even after he posted a strong 63 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns as a junior despite obvious issues with the team's passing attack. 

But the numbers hardly tell the whole story here, as Ridley is 6'1" and 190 pounds with elite speed. 

As NFL.com's Lance Zierlein explained, playing at Alabama has its perks: "Ridley has game-changing talent complete with blazing speed and rare route-running ability for a college prospect. He ran the full route tree at Alabama, has experience working in a pro-style attack and is a plug-and-play starter on day one."

It's not often a first-round pick can come on and have a huge year anymore, but Ridley could be an exception with the Washington Redskins. A high-efficiency attack led by Alex Smith and a roster trying to recover from the Terrelle Pryor gaffe means plenty of high-percentage looks freeing up Ridley to make a per-down basis and potentially a whole lot more. 

Given the nature of this class with quarterbacks and offensive linemen, Ridley could tumble to the Redskins, one of the few places seeming ready to help a rookie wideout break out. This one goes both ways, as Ridley's route tree and reliable hands seem like the perfect match. 


17. Los Angeles Chargers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Say hello to one of the fastest-rising prospects of the process, as well as a guy who might not even be close to done in this department. 

Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech didn't have a ton of hype heading into this long path to the draft, but it's hard to miss a 6'5", 250-pound linebacker who pops so much on film. 

Now that many have had time to fully digest the film, it's apparent Edmunds is a scheme-versatile player whose big frame combines with sudden explosiveness helping him patrol the field in a strong sideline-to-sideline fashion. 

"Good luck with your player comp on this one," an NFC regional scout told Zierlein. "They don't come like him. I don't think there has ever been a linebacker that has had his size and speed. You're better off comping him with a basketball player."

Some will point out Edmunds isn't the most instinctual player right now—but this is the NFL draft, a process that evaluates and picks based on upside, not what a player is right now. With this in mind, try to remember he's all of 19 years old. 

The Los Angeles Chargers will have a hard time ignoring this huge upside as they seek to keep carving out an underrated defensive identity. Plugging Edmunds in alongside guys like Melvin Ingram and behind a Joey Bosa, not to mention in front of a Jason Verrett, and the Chargers have a serious claim as the NFL's best unit. 

As an added bonus, it ups the chances Edmunds reaches his high ceiling, which isn't a bad result at all when picking 17th. 


Stats courtesy of NFL.com.


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