2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest 1st-Round Projections for Boom-or-Bust Prospects

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2018

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen (17) warms up prior to the start of an NCAA college football game in Laramie, Wyo., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Shannon Broderick)
Shannon Broderick/Associated Press

The 2018 NFL draft is exactly one month away and teams are now in the process of scheduling private workouts and predraft visits with prospects in an effort to finalize their draft boards. 

There's still a lot of work to be done in the final month, but with each passing week we gain a little more insight into how the draft could play out. 

Most notably, the past two weeks provided us a look at the top quarterback prospects, as each of the top four quarterbacks took the field for their pro days in an effort to solidify their spot at the top of the draft. 

Based on all the information we have at this stage of the process, here's an updated mock draft, followed by a closer look at three teams who could select some of this year's top boom-or-bust prospects.


1. Cleveland Browns:  Sam Darnold, QB, USC

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

3. New York Jets (from IND): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

6. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ): Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State 

8. Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

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

10. Oakland Raiders: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

12. Buffalo Bills (from CIN): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

13. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, S, Florida State

14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA

15. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama 

16. Baltimore Ravens: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa 

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF): Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

22. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

23. Los Angeles Rams: James Daniels, C, Iowa 

24. Carolina Panthers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

26. Atlanta Falcons: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

27. New Orleans Saints: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Reid, S, Stanford

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State

31. New England Patriots: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU


3. New York Jets: Josh Allen

Margaret Bowles/Associated Press

Josh Allen's inaccuracy makes him one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in this draft class. 

Allen's completion percentage—just 56.3 percent in 2017—often gets brought up to demonstrate his inaccuracy, but that number doesn't fully capture his struggles. Completion percentage can be impacted by the supporting talent and the types of throws attempted, but the rate at which Allen completely misses his target is what makes his inaccuracy such a worrisome trait. 

Even the easiest throws on the field are often a struggle for Allen. According to CFB Film Room, on throws within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, Allen threw an uncatchable pass 10.3 percent of the time.

So who would gamble on such a prospect in the first round?

Historically, teams that reach for quarterback prospects tend be either rookie general managers, or general managers who know they're on the hot seat. In this year's draft, the GM who most obviously fits one of those descriptions is Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, who is entering his fourth year leading the franchise. 

After wasting a second-round pick on Christian Hackenberg—who hasn't even been good enough to see the field—Maccagnan needs to solve his quarterback problem or risk losing his job. 

That type of desperation could lead him to take a calculated risk on a prospect like Allen. 


9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds

Steve Helber/Associated Press

Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will be just 19 years old on draft day, and yet he already checks in at 6'5" and 253 pounds. 

According to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, an NFL scout said of Edmunds: "They don't come like him. I don't think there has ever been a linebacker that has had his size and speed."

Physically, Edmunds is a marvel and he has the potential to develop into a Lavar Arrington-type player in the NFL. However, as should be expected of a 19-year-old prospect, he is still raw. 

Edmunds struggles to anticipate running lanes and is often late to react to the play developing in front of him. In the ACC, Edmunds' size and speed covered up for his late recognition skills, but he won't have that advantage against NFL competition. 

His deficiency in this area makes him a riskier prospect than others, but his incredible potential still makes him an option for a linebacker-needy team such as the 49ers. 

The team will likely consider taking a risk on Edmunds in the first round. 


14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport

Butch Dill/Associated Press

In 2016, Vikings tight end David Morgan became the only player from the University of Texas at San Antonio to be drafted into the NFL, and just two years later the school could produce a first-round draft pick. 

As with any small-school prospect, there's some risk in taking Marcus Davenport in the first round. It's a big leap from playing schools such as FIU and Rice, to competing at the highest level the sport has to offer. 

However, at 6'6" Davenport has the length teams covet in a pass-rusher. 

Davenport benefits from this being a fairly weak class of edge-rushers, especially at the top of the board. As a result, a team in need of immediate help at the position, such as the Packers, could take a gamble on him. 

Clay Matthews led the Packers with 7.5 sacks in 2017, and while the team is still hoping for production from him, at his age (32 on May 14) they need to be prepared for a decline. 


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