NFL Mock Draft 2018: 1st-Round Projections and Prospects to Watch

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2018

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys prior to their game against the Virginia Tech Hokies on December 28, 2017 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

With less than a month to go before the NFL draft, we have another headline-making trade that shocked the NFL fanbase.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Los Angeles Rams have traded the No. 23 overall pick and a sixth-round selection to the New England Patriots in exchange for a fourth-rounder and wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Now equipped with two first-round picks and two second-round picks, the Patriots could move up in the first round to draft Tom Brady's successor.

If they wanted, they could trade those four picks and really make some noise atop the draft.

Of course, they could look at a quarterback, but defensive end Bradley Chubb is an interesting proposition, too, as the Patriots need pass-rushing help.

However, in the mock draft below, we'll make picks based upon the incumbent draft position and also look at three prospects to watch for come April 27.

        

NFL Mock Draft: Round 1

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1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

2. New York GiantsQuenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

7. Tampa Bay BuccaneersMinkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

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

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

10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

11. Miami Dolphins: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

14. Green Bay Packers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

18. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

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

20. Detroit LionsHarold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

24. Carolina Panthers: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

25. Tennessee Titans: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

26. Atlanta FalconsTaven Bryan, DT, Florida 

27. New Orleans Saints: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland 

30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

31. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

        

Prospects to Watch

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

While going inside the top 15 of this mock draft, Lamar Jackson is possibly the most divisive player in the draft. But it only takes one team to fall in love with him. And that's exactly why Jackson could be a trade-up target.

Before diving into the mock draft, we mentioned the Patriots possibly doing this; maybe Jackson is a player they have in mind.

Again, with two first-rounders and two second-rounders, the Patriots could move up quite high and take Jackson before he falls to the Cardinals.

The Patriots do have other needs, including the pass rush, offensive line and wide receiver with Cooks being dealt. However, Jackson could be a wild card in the first round and is a prime candidate for a team to trade up for.

Jackson would benefit greatly from spending time behind Brady and learning from perhaps the best in the business.

      

D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

It may seem like a cop-out to say this, but Maryland's D.J. Moore could truly be like former Terrapin wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

How so? Well, Diggs wasn't looked at as a top wide receiver.

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein projected him as a third- or fourth-rounder, and he didn't even get drafted until the fifth round in 2015.

Moore, at 210 pounds, is essentially a bigger Diggs (by 19 pounds), though he is likely better off in the slot. With a 40-yard dash of 4.42 seconds, Moore also possesses great speed for a 6-footer.

Zierlein listed his ability to win the 50-50 jump ball as a weakness, but as a slot guy, he won't need to contest as many catches as he would on the outside.

Moore is a fringe first-round pick, but he could find a home with the Jaguars, as they need weapons with the departure of Allen Robinson.

If Moore isn't what the Jaguars have in mind, the Patriots could take him if he's still on the board at No. 31, as they only have Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson at wide receiver.

                     

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Usually, we'd cover guys mocked above to go in the first round, but Mason Rudolph is a realistic possibility to be a late first-round pick.

Say the Patriots are unable to trade up and take one of the top quarterback prospects. Taking Rudolph with their No. 31 pick after drafting a position of need at No. 23 could be an alternative.

Standing at 6'5", Rudolph has the prototypical quarterback build and is a pocket passer through and through.

There are some concerns about his velocity on downfield passes, but Rudolph fits the mold of Brady more so than Jackson does.

Rudolph isn't ready to go from day one, but that's acceptable for the Patriots. Under the tutelage of head coach Bill Belichick, a lot of Rudolph's "system quarterback" concerns will be extinguished.

As the end of the first round approaches, don't be shocked to hear Rudolph's name called as the sixth quarterback to be drafted in the first 32 selections.