NFL Draft 2018: 1st-Round Mock Draft Based on Day 1 Scouting Combine Buzz

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 1, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 31:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)   Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins in action against the New York Giants on December 31, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 18-10.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

NFL general managers and head coaches took center stage at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday as they conducted interview sessions with local and national media prior to the event kicking off in full.

However, this week's buzz centers around free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is a major domino in this draft process. Right now, there seem to be three major players for Cousins: the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.

If the Broncos or Jets (each of whom has a top-six pick) lands his services, then we could potentially see (a) a bidding war for quarterback-needy teams looking to move into the top six or (b) a signal-caller becoming the odd man out and making an unexpected fall down the first round.

But if a team picking in the middle or bottom of the first round gets Cousins, then it's conceivable that four quarterbacks go within the first six selections.

Here's a look a mock draft with the following scenarios: Cousins lands with the Minnesota Vikings and no trades. You can also find analysis below about how the draft could shake out if Cousins signs with any of the three aforementioned teams.


2018 NFL Mock Draft 

1. Cleveland Browns: USC QB Sam Darnold

2. New York Giants: UCLA QB Josh Rosen

3. Indianapolis Colts: North Carolina EDGE Bradley Chubb

4. Cleveland Browns: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley

5. Denver Broncos: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

6. New York Jets: Wyoming QB Josh Allen

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

8. Chicago Bears: Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson

9. San Francisco 49ers: Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds

10. Oakland Raiders: Georgia LB Roquan Smith

11. Miami Dolphins: Florida State S Derwin James

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Texas OT Connor Williams

13. Washington Redskins: Washington DT Vita Vea

14. Green Bay Packers: Iowa CB Josh Jackson

15. Arizona Cardinals: Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

16. Baltimore Ravens: Alabama WR Calvin Ridley

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Alabama DT Da'Ron Payne

18. Seattle Seahawks: Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey

19. Dallas Cowboys: Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk

20. Detroit Lions: UTSA EDGE Marcus Davenport

21. Buffalo Bills: Ohio State OG Billy Price

22. Buffalo Bills: Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown

23. Los Angeles Rams: Boston College EDGE Harold Landry

24. Carolina Panthers: Alabama S Ronnie Harrison

25. Tennessee Titans: Michigan DT Maurice Hurst

26. Atlanta Falcons: Florida DT Tavon Bryan

27. New Orleans Saints: SMU WR Courtland Sutton

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alabama LB Rashaan Evans

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst

30. Minnesota Vikings: Georgia OG Isaiah Wynn

31. New England Patriots: UCF CB Mike Hughes

32. Philadelphia Eagles: LSU RB Derrius Guice


Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings

NFL Network analyst Mike Garafolo had the following scoop on Cousins potentially going to Minnesota:

"The Minnesota Vikings are going to be players for Kirk Cousins. I have been told that by numerous sources the whole way. I'm not saying they're going to land him. I do believe that they have a great pitch to make to him as far as look at our defense, look at our targets, look at everything we've got. You can come in here and compete right away."

If Cousins heads north, then we might see teams stay put near the top of the draft, which would be a stark contrast from last year when the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs all moved up to take their quarterbacks of the future.

Right now, there are four consensus first-round quarterbacks in Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. There are also four teams looking for a long-term answer at quarterback in the top six.

Anyone can connect the dots: It's a definite possibility that four quarterbacks are selected in the top six, meaning that we could see some other teams (e.g. the Buffalo Bills or Arizona Cardinals) left out in the cold. Of course, those two could also go the free-agency route as well.


Cousins and the Denver Broncos

Jeff Legwold of ESPN noted Broncos vice president of football operations and general manager John Elway's remarks about potentially filling the team's quarterback need through free agency:

"John Elway also said Wednesday the Broncos would consider 'all' options in free agency at quarterback. Then asked if that meant the Broncos would consider every quarterback who was available in free agency he said 'yes.' So that's as close to a formal confirmation the Broncos would consider Kirk Cousins as Elway is likely to give before free agency opens."

If Denver gets Cousins, it's possible that it could look to trade down and acquire more picks to build around the former Washington Redskins signal-caller. Teams should be clamoring to move up, especially if Denver is listening to offers.

James Palmer of NFL Network quoted Elway as saying the following about a potential move down:

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

"We’ll be open for business on the fifth pick depending on how things fall” - John Elway

Keep an eye on the Bills potentially trading with the Broncos if the latter team gets Cousins. Per Bills sideline reporter Sal Capaccio, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the following about 2017 starter Tyrod Taylor:

Sal Capaccio 🏈 @SalSports

Bills GM Brandon Beane told me there are no options currently off the table when it comes to Tyrod Taylor's future.

That doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for Taylor, who was controversially benched for one half to give backup Nathan Peterman a shot. Peterman threw five interceptions in one half against the Los Angeles Chargers, and Taylor got his starting job back at halftime.

It's doubtful that the Bills see Taylor as a long-term option (Taylor would be a better fit on other teams, Arizona perhaps), and his odds of being with the Bills in 2018 aren't great.

The good news for Buffalo is that it has two first-round draft picks. The bad news is that they are at No. 21 and 22, and that's a long way away from the top six.

Still, the Broncos could do a lot with those two selections, with shoring up the interior offensive line or grabbing a linebacker as two options.

Also, per the drafttek.com trade value chart, the Broncos and Bills wouldn't be too far off if they swapped those selections (the Bills' picks are valued at 1,580 points, while the Broncos' selection is valued at 1,700 points). If Buffalo throws in an extra pick somewhere, a deal could take place.


Cousins and the New York Jets

Rich Cimini of ESPN noted that the New York Jets have a strong interest in Cousins as well. Per Over the Cap, the Jets have the second-most cap space in the league, and it's not even close. The next-closest team (the Indianapolis Colts) is roughly $16.5 million behind Gang Green.

If the Jets break the bank for Cousins, then they could look to trade down, with the Bills being the most obvious option.

A Jets-Bills deal seems slightly more plausible than a Broncos-Bills one, per the drafttek.com trade value chart. The Jets' pick is valued at 1,600 points, just 20 more than the Bills' two picks. A straight swap there could work.

With Denver out of the mix in this case, it seems more than likely that it would stay put and land one of the top quarterbacks. That could give the Jets a ton of leverage in a potential trade, especially if three of those four aforementioned signal-callers have already been selected.


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