*Added Third Round / 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Mock drafts for 2018 are starting to identify the “elite” players and some new names are starting to surface. Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC, Dante Pettis, WR, Washington, Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia, and Vita Vea, DT, Washington are among the fast risers.
DraftGeek’s 2018 Mock Draft – Updated December 15
DraftBlaster Mock Draft Last Updated: December 15
Round One (1-20) | Round One (21-32) | Round Two | Round Three
Team Needs: QB, CB, WR
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Browns are rightfully giving Kizer plenty of playing time to make his case for being the QB of the future. If the Browns continue to lose and have the first pick, however, it would take a fairly significant uptick in play to keep the Browns from trying to trade out the number one pick or to use it to select another position. Kizer came out early for sure, and it could prove a disastrous mistake for his career long-term. Darnold, ironically, is also very young and has multiple years of eligibility left. His Rose Bowl tape of last year, along with flashes of that play in 2017, will be enough for him to be considered as the top QB in the draft. With the QB position, more than other positions, the GM’s and other decision makers view prospects very differently than scouts or draft personalities on TV. The decision makers simply look at what a player CAN do and what the perceive to be his ceiling. Scouts and draft analysts break down flaws and inconsistencies.
*Note on new GM John Dorsey: The draft history of John Dorsey for QB’s doesn’t really show a consistent pattern in QB qualities, unless you are trying to force one. What is known is that he moved up to get Patrick Mahomes last year (although he did get fired not long after that, so there is a story there somewhere), he has an exceptional reputation as a talent evaluator, he has drafted very well overall for the Chiefs, he seems to especially covet football character, and he will not be dissuaded by some off the field issues he believes are truly mistakes. Dorsey is an ex player and is a true “football guy.” Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, these are guys he is going love interviewing and talking football. Josh Rosen has a different sort of personality, and now that coaches have been fired at UCLA, a lot of people are talking about him, and right now, not a lot of that is good. It is unfair to jump to conclusions, but right now the John Dorsey hire only strengthens the Sam Darnold case, if they pick at QB with the first pick.
The Browns could very well sign Alex Smith, a player that Dorsey is very familiar with, is reliable and who provides an excellent buffer for the next QB of the franchise. That is what he had with Rodgers and Favre. The variables to consider are: 1) what is the evaluation of Kizer after the season is over, 2) does another team value Darnold, Rosen, or Allen enough to offer a trade up, and 3) what is Dorsey’s opinion of the big question mark in the draft- Mayfield? With the Browns QB situation absolutely needing to be on the right path going into next year, it is safe to say there are going to be two actions taken by Dorsey, regardless of the opinion of Kizer- a veteran QB will be signed, and a QB will be drafted.
Team Needs: LT, LB, CB, RB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The reckoning that we assumed would come to the Giants GM and coach has now come and passed, so no need to delve into that mess. The mock drafts for the Giants all hinge on where Eli plays next year. If he comes back, it would be doubtful that the Giants would invest a pick this high on a QB, as they still have plenty of talent to make another run during Eli’s remaining playing days. A new GM most likely won’t make the Chief’s mistake last year of prematurely taking a QB when a high pick at another position of need can help you immediately. If Eli is with the Giants, this most likely is the top left tackle.
The post college football season is going to be an interesting one for Josh Rosen. His political statements and discussions about college football have angered a lot of people, and have been at times vulgar and hateful. He is adored by a large amount of writers that have given the same treatment to Kaepernick, and whether you agree with him or not, teams hate that stuff. Now that the UCLA coaches have been fired, there are also a lot of people talking and the word is out that he is not the best leader, treats some people very poorly, and football might not be important enough to him for him to be given the keys to an NFL franchise. At that age, it is certainly possible, even probable, to grow out of such things, but this is a top pick in the NFL that is at stake.
The truth is that any team that drafts Josh Rosen is not just drafting him, but also is taking on a sports network and many in the media that will fawn over his views. It is not dissimilar to the Kaepernick situation in that a team simply doesn’t want to be fighting a war with two fronts- one with the media that defends a player’s antics, no matter how offensive, and another with a fan base that is offended.
Team Needs: OL, LB, CB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Colts: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Nothing can be said about the Colts’ draft without mentioning Luck and hoping he can come back completely healthy next year. Even in a worst case scenario where he can’t, they should seriously consider mending the issue that caused him to get hurt in the first place – the offensive line. Connor Williams got hurt early in the year, but before that looked to be the top left tackle prospect in the draft. He hasn’t come all the way back, but has plenty of time to get back to that during the draft process. Ballard has done a good job rebuilding a roster void of talent but the Luck situation looms large.
Team Needs: OL, WR, S, RB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, 49ers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
The 49ers made the first move that really changed the 2018 NFL Draft when they traded for Garoppolo. They are in a position where they can fairly broadly go for best player available in this draft and sort out needs later throughout the draft.
Team Needs: OL, DL, QB, S, LB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Broncos went a bridge too far with their tinkering at the QB position, and just need to settle that position once and for all and move forward. Josh Allen might very well be the best overall talent at QB in the draft, and in Denver could probably be brought along slowly.
6. Cleveland Browns (from Houston)
Team Needs: QB, CB, WR
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Saquon Barkley was making an argument to be the top pick of the draft earlier in the season, even though a running back hasn’t been a #1 pick since 1995 and the last time one was a #2 was 2006, but has fallen back to a more reasonable spot as the college season unfolded. This came about because of several factors, including the continued emergence of other running backs in the draft which increased supply, thus lowering demand, some decreased production later in the year, and the continued solid play of prospects at positions more valued in the draft. A super high character, pass catching, pass blocking, dynamic running back will do a lot for whatever young QB is running the offense. Hopefully, they have Thomas back next year at left tackle, and their offensive line could be a strength of the team.
Team Needs: WR, OG, DB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Whereas Watson was put into an out of the box offense with an innovative scheme and plenty of skilled players around him, Trubisky has redefined the concept of bringing along slowly while still actually playing games. This team desperately needs a wide receiver, but this is not the draft where there is that super Alpha “X” receiver that justifies a pick this high. That being said, this is unusually high for a guard to be taken, but Nelson is worthy of it. As in most recent drafts, the Bears will have plenty of opportunities to get wide receivers later in this draft, but a guard like Nelson only comes around every few years.
Team Needs: DE, OL, RB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Buccaneers: Arden Key, DE, LSU
The Bucs have been a major disappointment in 2018, but perhaps that should have been expected with so many young players at key positions. They are a very talented young team that essentially needs to “grow up.” One area that needs an immediate boost in talent is the pass rush. Whether this comes from the interior of the defensive line, off the edge, or from more interesting blitz packages that include the linebackers and the secondary, they need to produce more pressure on opposing QBs. Arden Key is just starting to get back to playing at a level that could arguably make him the top pick in the draft. Look for him to continue to rise up draft boards as the draft process unfolds.
Team Needs: OT, OLB, ILB, S
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Bengals: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Bengals have let a lot of talent walk out the door lately, and have made the mistake of promoting players just because they are young and cheap instead of actually waiting until they earn their starting role. Talent wise, they are discombobulated, without any coherent plan for bringing along young talent effectively. Until there is a change in the front office philosophy, it is difficult to project what they want to do with their team, roster-wise. Taking the most talented player on the board is always a good bet.
10. New York Jets
Team Needs: QB, WR, RB, OL
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
John Morton has done a wonderful job with the offense this year for the Jets, and Josh McCown has been a stabilizing force at QB. It is rare that a team is in this position, where they can take a QB high in the draft, and have a veteran presence at the position that can hold down the position for a year or two. This is a mock selection where it is all about a prediction rather than a selection of what a team should do.
The comparisons that have been made with Mayfield to other legendary NFL QB’s are disingenuous at best. During the game, and reportedly at practices as well, he is a fiery competitor that teammates and coaches rally around. However, he quit on his first college program because they wouldn’t guarantee him the starting job. He didn’t just quit the team, he quit the school and then went to another high profile school, and people call him a celebrated “walk on,” when in fact, he is a “walk out.” The reason we love the story of a successful “walk on” is that it is a story of a player that persevered, worked hard and was rewarded. Mayfield simply quit on his teammates, his coaches, and his school and joined another. He could very well have been justified with his reasoning to move to another school, but even assuming that is the case, there is a way to do things, and how you do them reveals your character.
The antics after the Ohio State game, during the Kansas game, and other off field incidents (Google it) show a pattern of behavior that is (as history has shown us time and again) only going to get worse when he is given a pile of money. The hope is that he is just a very high strung kid who is immature. However, there can’t just be a quieting of incidents, there needs to be proof that a light went on his head and they he finally “gets it,” if he is going to be seen as worthy of leading an NFL franchise.
Team Needs: QB, S, DE
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Redskins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
When the 49ers took Garoppolo, it shook up the free agency market at QB for next year. This, at least to some degree, increased the chance that Cousins comes back to the Redskins. If Cousins does leave, it is not a lock that Gruden will push for a QB high in the draft as he does like Colt McCoy and is generally of the opinion that he can develop QB’s and that they don’t need to be “elite” prospects in his system. The WR position took a big hit last year as they lost Jackson in free agency and Pryor has been a bust.
Team Needs: QB, CB, OT, OG, TE
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Cardinals: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Cardinals will need to find the QB of the future and eventually replace a legend at WR. They are taking a long look at Blaine Gabbert as the long-term answer at QB, but might also hedge that bet with a high pick at QB in this draft. Arizona suddenly is confronted with playing the most explosive offense in the league with the Rams, and adding another talented corner to the defense would go a long way with their other young, talented pieces on defense.
13. Oakland Raiders
Team Needs: OT, LB, RB, DT, CB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Raiders: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Every year there is a team or two that has a huge pile of free agency money to spend to add players on everyone’s “top free agents” lists, and the fans get excited and start dreaming of championships. The problem is that just isn’t what wins Superbowls. As much as the draft is a process of educated guesses, free agency has a similar success rate, but with much higher financial consequences. Anyone suggesting that the Raiders would need offensive line help for the 2018 NFL Draft would have been deemed a fool a few years ago, but that is a big area of need now. The good news is that they might have resolved a major issue on defense with a change at coordinator, and they have a lot of excellent young talent that they have added through the draft in recent years.
14. Miami Dolphins
Team Needs: OG, RB, QB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Dolphins: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Dolphins need to hope and pray that Tannehill can come back next year healthy and stay healthy. His contract is not actually very troublesome if they decide to move on after next year, but he really needs to stay healthy. The Dolphins are mired in a bit of a mess with some poor free agent moves, and are aging quickly at several key positions. Their offensive line has taken a turn for the worse but they have some very young guys there that can still develop. On defense they are in need of some young pieces and should keep an open mind at this point in the draft to taking talent over immediate need.
15. Baltimore Ravens
Team Needs: RB, OG, WR
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Ravens: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Ravens and a WR is one of the “anchor picks” that can start off most mock drafts for 2018. This team really needs some skill position help. Where it appears that they will be drafting should set up very well for Baltimore, and they might be going RB and WR early, as well as adding an offensive lineman, which is in stark contrast to last year’s defense heavy draft.
Team Needs: RT, DL
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Chargers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Chargers suffered some bad injuries early on, but have battled back throughout the year as a lot of their younger players really settled in. They might have overpaid for Okung, but that position is locked in for several years, so no use considering it here. However, they could definitely use an improvement at right tackle, and with their two very talented young guards, could put together an imposing offensive line.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Team Needs: OL, DT, WR, TE
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Cowboys: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Cowboys’ offensive line was just not the same this year, but some of that was injuries and developing chemistry. They have enough key pieces that they don’t have to panic and address the position early in the draft. With three of their five positions locked down, they should be looking to add two offensive linemen through the draft and another in free agency and then let the competition unfold. They have found their edge guys on the defensive line, but have a big need in the middle. They also will need to find a WR and TE to replace key players at the end of their careers.
18. Detroit Lions
Team Needs: DT, DE, RB, OG
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Lions: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Bob Quinn inherited a surprisingly sparse roster when he took over as GM, but he has put together several good drafts, and for the most part has made some good free agency moves. Both lines were a mess and the linebacker core was perhaps the worst in the league. A few years ago, they were shocked that A’Shawn Robinson fell to them in the second round, but apart from Ngata, who is approaching the end of his career, they have very little at defensive tackle, and for the defensive line in general. Ziggy Ansah has been banged up the last few years and they have a big decision to make on him in the offseason. Vita Vea is a defensive tackle that doesn’t come around too often. He looks the part of a traditional 2-Gap nose tackle, but has incredible athleticism, and has many of the skills of a much lighter tackle prospect.
Team Needs: OG, LB, TE
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Packers: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
Ted Thomspon gets a lot of credit for building his team through the draft, and deservedly so. However, the last two years he has fumbled some free agency moves and his drafts have been pretty questionable. The Packers need to stabilize their offensive line and need help at linebacker. Roquan Smith is a devastating presence on the defense for Georgia, and Capers would have a lot of fun incorporating him into his defensive scheme.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Team Needs: OL, CB
2018 NFL Mock Draft, Seahawks: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
As much as Seattle has been castigated for not having a good offensive line now for several years, it is not for a lack of trying. As much success as they have had in drafting guys in the secondary, they have had that much failure with drafting offensive linemen. The fact is that they did some unique things in the past with personnel on their offensive line, such as using bigger linemen with a lot of zone blocking, which usually uses slightly smaller, more athletic players, but that was early on, and teams have caught up with that wrinkle. What they probably need to do is listen to every not-clever business meeting leader and Keep It Simple Stupid. Innovation can be highly overrated, and if they can just go back to more traditional concepts with offensive line play, they should finally stabilize that unit.
Round One (1-20) | Round One (21-32) | Round Two | Round Three