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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Complete 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects and More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 24, 2018

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30:  Saquon Barkley #26 of Penn State Nittany Lions runs with the ball while straight arming Vita Vea #50 of the Washington Huskies during the Playstation Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

After a litany of news articles, interviews, rumors, mock drafts and big boards, the NFL draft is finally approaching. It will take place between Thursday and Saturday in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

This year could provide plenty of intrigue, especially if some teams looking for a future franchise quarterback make trades to move up in the first round, much like last year when the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans did so.

Here's a new mock draft as the real one begins to appear on the horizon. You can also take a look at deeper analysis on the selections of the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers.

                   

2018 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Wyoming QB Josh Allen

2. New York Giants: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley

3. New York Jets: USC QB Sam Darnold

4. Cleveland Browns: North Carolina State DE Bradley Chubb

5. Buffalo Bills (proposed trade with Denver Broncos): UCLA QB Josh Rosen

6. Arizona Cardinals (proposed trade with Indianapolis Colts): Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

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. Denver Broncos (proposed trade with Buffalo Bills): Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

13. Washington Redskins: Washington DT Vita Vea

14. Green Bay Packers: Iowa CB Josh Jackson

15. Indianapolis Colts (proposed trade with Arizona Cardinals): UTSA EDGE Marcus Davenport

16. Baltimore Ravens: Alabama WR Calvin Ridley

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

18. Seattle Seahawks: Michigan DT Maurice Hurst

19. Dallas Cowboys: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch

20. Detroit Lions: Boston College EDGE Harold Landry

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey

22. Denver Broncos (proposed trade with Buffalo Bills): Georgia OG Isaiah Wynn

23. New England Patriots: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

24. Carolina Panthers: Maryland WR D.J. Moore

25. Tennessee Titans: Ohio State EDGE Sam Hubbard

26. Atlanta Falcons: Florida DT Taven Bryan

27. New Orleans Saints: South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alabama OLB Rashaan Evans

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst

30. Minnesota Vikings: UTEP OG Will Hernandez

31. New England Patriots: Louisville CB Jaire Alexander

32. Philadelphia Eagles: LSU RB Derrius Guice

             

Washington DT Vita Vea: Washington Redskins

Only five teams allowed 4.4 running back yards per carry or more last year, and the Washington Redskins were one of them (4.49). Per Football Outsiders, they were also last in the league in adjusted line yards (4.91 yards per carry).

Perhaps the most concerning Football Outsiders statistic, however, is that opposing teams earned a first down or touchdown 76 percent of the time against Washington when it was 3rd-and-2 or less.

Washington needs a defensive tackle who can help plug up the middle, especially considering it'll face star running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys twice a year for the foreseeable future (and perhaps ex-Penn State running back Saquon Barkley twice a season as well if the New York Giants take him).

Vita Vea could be a big help. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network offered great praise for the 6'4", 347-pound defensive tackle out of the University of Washington: "Vea is a massive defensive tackle prospect with remarkable power, quickness and agility. He's a dominant run defender, routinely resetting the line of scrimmage against both individual blockers and double-teams."

Matt Miller of Bleacher Report also ranked Vea as the draft's top defensive lineman, writing that he is "a true athlete with the tools to stay on the field for passing downs."

Also, as Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network noted, Vea was on the punt-coverage team during the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State and even recorded a tackle. Granted, Vea won't be doing that in the pros, but it speaks to Vea's athleticism, especially given his massive size.

Ultimately, Vea's addition could go a long way toward improving a defense that allowed 24.3 points per game last year.

              

Maryland WR D.J. Moore: Carolina Panthers

Evan Silva of Rotoworld listed pass-catcher as the Carolina Panthers' second-biggest draft need, and one could argue that it could even be first.

No. 1 wideout Devin Funchess fared well last year, catching 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns, but the rest of the depth chart has a lot of question marks.

Former Philadelphia Eagles wideout Torrey Smith joined the team via trade and is in line to start opposite Funchess. Smith enjoyed two solid seasons to close his Baltimore Ravens tenure in 2013 and 2014, but he's averaged fewer than 30 receptions per year in the three seasons since.

Curtis Samuel, the team's 2017 second-round pick, showed some flashes in his rookie season but suffered a serious ankle injury in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins and has no timetable for a return, per Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.

Look for Carolina to take a wideout no later than the second day of the draft, and the guess here is that it takes the best one available with the 24th overall pick. In this case, that player could be Maryland wideout D.J. Moore, who amassed 80 catches for 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network ranks him as the draft class' best wideout, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared Moore to San Francisco 49ers wideout Pierre Garcon, who has caught 604 passes and 37 touchdowns over the course of a 10-year career.

Moore could easily find himself third on the Panthers depth chart to start the year and should make a big impact right away.

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