NFL Draft 2018: Latest Predictions, Odds and Rumors for Top Prospects

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2018

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 18:  Derrius Guice #5 of the LSU Tigers celebrates after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

We're just days away from hundreds of draft hopefuls receiving some life-altering news—that they've been drafted to an NFL team.

It's time we examine the latest rumors and odds for the draft and make some predictions to go along with those.

As always, we'll start with a first-round mock draft.

                

NFL Mock Draft: Round 1

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

4. Buffalo Bills (projected trade w/ Cleveland Browns, via Houston Texans): Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

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

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

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

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

10. New England Patriots (projected trade w/ Oakland Raiders): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

11. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

12. Cleveland Browns (projected trade w/ Buffalo Bills, via Cincinnati Bengals): Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

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: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

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

20. Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

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

22. Cleveland Browns (projected trade w/ Buffalo Bills, via Kansas City Chiefs): Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

23. Oakland Raiders (projected trade w/ New England Patriots, via Los Angeles Rams): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

24. Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

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

26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida 

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

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame 

30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

31. Oakland Raiders (projected trade w/ New England Patriots): Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Hughes, CB, UFC

         

Latest Odds

The following odds are all courtesy of OddsChecker.

           

No. 1 Overall Pick

Sam Darnold: -175 (bet $175 to win $100)

Josh Allen: +260

Saquon Barkley: +900

Baker Mayfield: +2275

Josh Rosen: +2800

         

First QB Drafted

Sam Darnold: -175

Josh Allen: +200

Josh Rosen: +1000

Baker Mayfield: +1650

     

Total Linebackers Drafted in Round 1

Over 3.5: -187

Under 3.5: +125

         

Latest Rumors

Frank Ragnow Top Center?

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Frank Ragnow is the top center in the draft, and the prospect may not fall far.

La Canfora pointed out the Cincinnati Bengals as the team he doesn't see them falling past.

In the mock above, he's slotted at No. 18 overall to the Seattle Seahawks, who are in desperate need of retooling their depleted offensive line.

Ragnow checks all the boxes in terms of what you want out of a center—leadership qualities, big, can move well and is as strong as an ox.

           

Concerns with Vander Esch's Medical?

Touted as one of the best linebacker prospects in the draft, it sounds like there could be a red flag when it comes to Leighton Vander Esch.

According to Mark Kaboly of The AthleticNFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said teams are concerned about Vander Esch's injury (neck) history.

Kaboly noted Vander Esch is someone the Pittsburgh Steelers are interested in.

There are negatives when it comes to Vander Esch—play strength and one year of starting experience—but his potential and pure athletic ability are through the roof. 

At No. 19, the Dallas Cowboys—a team known for taking risks on injured players—will overlook their need and void at wide receiver and take the best linebacker prospect in the draft not named Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith.

This has the makings of a potential smokescreen, so don't look too much into this. Teams may just want Vander Esch to fall to them.

             

Jets Are Down to Mayfield, Rosen as No. 3 Pick

After trading up with the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Jets are in a prime spot with the No. 3 overall pick to take their franchise quarterback.

It appears they've narrowed their list to two players.

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, the Jets have narrowed their decision to Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield.

For me, Rosen is the No. 1 quarterback in this draft class, but there's no denying what Mayfield brings to the table in terms of ability and demeanor.

Someone like Mayfield may be able to handle the New York media slightly better than Rosen.

Either way, the Jets will get a stud quarterback prospect who will be able to sit and learn from Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater until they're ready or when McCown and Bridgewater depart.

             

Predictions

Broncos Use Second-Round Pick on Running Back

With the release of C.J. Anderson, the Denver Broncos have a need for the running back position

With the No. 40 overall pick, they could have their choice of anyone not named Saquon Barkley.

Should someone like Sony Michel or Derrius Guice still be on the board, the Broncos should pounce on him to help out Case Keenum and this Broncos offense in 2018.

Passing on Rosen in the first-round was a tough call, but with their first two picks, the Broncos will haul in not only my personal favorite prospect in the entire draft in Quenton Nelson, but they'll also get a heck of a running back in Guice or Michel.

Whatever running back they draft, that player will have the comfort of knowing they'll have Nelson blocking for them.

              

Broncos Trade Back Into Second Round, Draft Rudolph

The Broncos were one of many teams going into the draft with a need at the quarterback position long term.

For now, the team does have Keenum, but he's not going to be the guy to take them to the promised land. But Mason Rudolph, after sitting and learning, might be able to.

Right now, we've already used the Broncos' No. 5 and No. 40 overall picks from the mock and the prediction above, but they still have the 71st and 99th overall picks in the third round to work with.

As Rudolph slips down the charts, a potential trade partner could be the San Francisco 49ers at No. 59, should the QB still be on the board.

Rudolph is your prototypical pocket-passer, who's huge in stature. He comes from Oklahoma State where they practice the spread, and while Rudolph will need to get better throwing on the run, he'll have at least a year to learn the ropes behind Keenum.

When he does, he'll take over a team with Nelson, a talented running back, a solid group of receivers and a defense that, while not at their Super Bowl-winning form, are solid enough to compete in the AFC West with a competent quarterback.

So, with the Broncos' first three draft picks, they'll end up with Nelson, Guice/Michel and Rudolph.

             

St. Brown the Shock of the First Round

Right now, the only clear-cut wide receiver prospect that's as close to a lock for being drafted in the first round is Calvin Ridley.

Well, that changes toward the end of the round when the Jacksonville Jaguars shock the viewers at home and in Arlington, Texas, and take Equanimeous St. Brown with the No. 29 overall pick.

Coming out of Notre Dame, St. Brown doesn't seem to have quite the high stock other prospects have.

But St. Brown does a ton of things well. He runs his routes, can go up and get the ball and handle any type of cornerback.

Notre Dame has had some incompetency at the quarterback position, and St. Brown's statistics and draft stock have suffered because of that.

The Jaguars need a weapon that can make up for the absence of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and St. Brown is that guy.

He's my No. 2 wide receiver prospect in the draft and belongs in the first round. Could the Jaguars potentially wait and get him in the late second? Maybe, but they cannot afford to take that risk and lose out on a stud prospect in St. Brown.

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