The 2018 NFL Draft is less than a month away. With Pro Days winding down, private workouts and meeting starting to speed up, we are inching closer and close to April 26th. In my first solo mock draft this year, I go two rounds with 10 total trades and an explanation for every pick.
1. Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Browns are going to take a quarterback with this pick, it’s only a matter of which one. Sam Darnold has long been expected to be the favorite to go first overall and I think that it’s a lock at this point.
Giants trade pick 2 to the Bills for picks 12, 22, 53, 56, 65, 2019 second and fourth round picks.
2. Bills via Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Bills have been working their way into the top five in order to select a quarterback. After the Jets/Colts trade the only way the Bills can make sure they get Josh Rosen is to trade with the Giants. Rumor is the Giants are Darnold or bust at quarterback and with him off the board they acquire seven picks for their number two selection.
3. Jets via Colts – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
When the Jets made the trade with the Colts, they must have similar grades on three quarterbacks knowing this scenario could play out. I believe those three quarterbacks are Darnold, Rosen and Baker Mayfield. While getting the third of their choices isn’t ideal, the Jets now have a clearer picture at quarterback.
Browns trade pick 4 to the Cardinals for picks 15,47, 79, 97, 2019 first round pick.
4. Cardinals via Browns – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
For years the Cardinals have taken the quarterback position for granted. Finally they get “their guy of the future” and move up to secure Josh Allen. While the Browns could easily take Saquon Barkley here, trading down while picking up four additional picks, including a first next year is too much to turn down.
5. Broncos – Quenton Nelson, iOL, Notre Dame
Without a quarterback worth the pick here, the Broncos grab arguably the best player in the draft, Quenton Nelson. Providing new quarterback Case Keenum a stud guard will just make his welcome to Denver all the better.
6. Colts via Jets – Bradley Chubb, EDGE, North Carolina State
Winner winner chicken dinner! The Colts traded down three spots, pick up three more second round picks and still get the guy they wanted at pick three. Bradley Chubb would finally give the Colts a dominate pass rusher.
7. Buccaneers – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Thanks to all the quarterbacks going early, the Buccaneers reap the benefits. Saquon Barkley is arguably the best player in the draft and fills a big need for the Buccaneers.
8. Bears – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
After spending a lot of money in free agency improving the offense around Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears turn their attention to improving the defense. Tremaine Edmunds is just 19 years old, but also looks like a star in the making.
9. 49ers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Even after adding Richard Sherman in free agency, the 49ers shouldn’t pass on the chance to draft Denzel Ward. One, no one is sure how good Sherman will be after tearing his Achilles last season. Two, with Jared Goff and Russell Wilson in the division, you can never have enough good cornerbacks.
Raiders trade pick 10 to the Packers for picks 14, 76.
10. Packers via Raiders – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
After trading away Damarious Randall and losing Morgan Burnett in free agency, the Packers are thin at safety. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a top ten talent who can play anywhere in the secondary.
11. Dolphins – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The linebacker spot has been a problem for the Dolphins over the past few season. Kilo Alonzo has struggled at times, Lawrence Timmons was a bust free agent signing, and Raekwon McMillan is coming off a torn ACL. Roquan Smith would give the Dolphins an impact player who can do it all from day one.
12. Giants via Bills – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
After missing out on Barkley at pick two, the Giants get the second-best running back in the draft 12 picks later. Derrius Guice would finally solve the Giants running back problems, giving them a weapon to complement Odell Beckham Jr.
13. Redskins – Derwin James, SAF, Florida State
Head coach Jay Gruden recently expressed that the team would look to draft a running back in the first round. However, with both Barkley and Guice gone they select the best available player. Derwin James is capable of lining up in many spots in the Redskins defense.
14. Raiders via Packers – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The main reason why the Raiders moved down was because of the amount of depth at linebacker in the draft. After ignoring the linebacker spot for years, Rashaan Evans can step in from day one and make impact plays for a below average defense.
15. Browns via Cardinals – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
After trading back, the Browns get the best offensive tackle in the draft to replace future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas at left tackle. It would be foolish to protect Darnold’s blindside with Shon Coleman or Chris Hubbard, so Connor Williams is the obvious choice.
16. Ravens – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Ravens have a history of taking players from Alabama and are in need of a wide receiver. Don’t let the signings of Michael Crabtree and John Brown fool you, Ravens fans; the wide receiver spot still needs work and Calvin Ridley would bolster the wide receiver room significantly.
17. Chargers – Vita Vea, DL, Washington
In a dream scenario, the Chargers land one of the best run stoppers in the draft. Last season the Chargers were one of the worst teams against the run. Adding Vita Vea to pair with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram would just be crazy.
Seahawks trade picks 18, 226 to the Browns for picks 35, 47.
18. Browns via Seahawks – Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan
After having three first round picks last year, the Browns decided to use two of their four second round picks and move up. By flipping them to the the Seahawks (who don’t have any day two picks) they get in their third pick in the top 20. Pairing Mo Hurst with Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Emmanuel Ogbah would give the Browns one of the best young defensive lineman in the league.
19. Cowboys – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Even with the few free agent signings to the offensive line, the Cowboys shouldn’t pass on Mike McGlinchey here. The Cowboys can recreate what they had in 2016 by moving La’el Collins back to left guard and starting McGlinchey at right tackle.
20. Lions – Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Many believe Sony Michel will go on the first night of the draft. Even with the signing of LeGarrette Blount, the Lions need to find a new running back. Ameer Abdullah as been a bust so far and his roster spot is in jeopardy. Michel, Blount and Theo Riddick would be nice trio for the Lions.
21. Bengals via Bills – Jarie Alexander, CB, Louisville
The Bengals declined to pick up Adam Jones’ option and plan to move on from him. Replacing him with Jaire Alexander, who can play outside or nickel, would give the Bengals another good young cornerback to pair with Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson.
22. Giants via Bills – Isaiah Wynn, iOL, Georgia
After losing both Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh in free agency, the Giants need to add to interior of their offensive line. Isaiah Wynn has risen up draft boards since the end of the college season and would start from day one protecting Eli Manning.
23. Rams – Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
After adding three cornerbacks already this offseason and resigning starting center Jon Sullivan, the only spot the Rams need to address is outside linebackers. Harold Landry would be an ideal fit in Wade Phillips’ attacking 3-4 scheme.
24. Panthers – James Daniels, iOL, Iowa
Starting left guard Andrew Norwell left as a free agent and starting center Ray Kalil plans to retire after the end of the 2018 season. James Daniels could start as a rookie at left guard then slide to center after Kalil retires.
25. Titans – Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Both Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are on the wrong side of 30 and will be free agents next year. Marcus Davenport is raw, but has great upside.
Falcons trade pick 26 to the Giants for picks 34, 65.
26. Giants via Falcons – Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
Thanks to all the picks they got in the trade with the Bills, the Giants move up into the back end of the first round to select a replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul. Sam Hubbard is rising up draft boards and now is in the late first round conversation.
27. Saints – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Drew Brees won’t be around forever and the Saints need to find his long-term replacement. Lamar Jackson might be the most polarizing player in the draft, but he could become a star.
28. Steelers – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
With no linebacker worth the pick here, the Steelers add a dynamic and underrated cornerback, Mike Hughes. Artie Burns has struggled with consistency and Joe Haden can’t be trusted to stay healthy.
29. Jaguars – Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
The Jaguars have no pressing needs so they can go with a best player available approach. Taven Bryan is coming off a great junior season at Florida and will only make a strong front four even more dangerous.
30. Vikings – Will Hernandez, iOL, UTEP
After landing Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson in free agency, the last thing the Vikings need to do this offseason is beef up their offensive line. Will Hernandez has risen up draft board since a great Senior Bowl performance and should start from day one.
31. Patriots – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
After losing left tackle Nate Solder in free agency, the Patriots have a big hole in their starting line up. Kolton Miller isn’t ready to start right away, but the Patriots will find a way to patch that hole until Miller is ready to go.
Eagles trade pick 32 to the Colts for picks 37, 104.
32. Colts via Eagles – D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
The Eagles currently don’t have any day two picks and should be looking to trade down to acquire some. Currently T.Y. Hilton and Ryan Grant are the projected starters at wide receiver in Indianapolis. Hilton is a Pro Bowler, but Grant is average at best. The Colts can’t welcome Andrew Luck back with no offensive line help or a new weapon to throw to. With no offensive linemen a value here, D.J. Moore would provide Luck with that weapon.
Browns trade pick 33 to the Broncos for picks 40, 99.
33. Broncos via Browns – Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
After missing out on a quarterback in the first round, the Broncos move up to the top of the second round to get Mason Rudolph, their heir apparent to Case Keenum.
34. Falcons via Giants – Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
Dontari Poe signed with the Panthers in free agency and the Falcons need to find someone who can replace him and his play verse the run. That someone is Da’Ron Payne.
35. Seahawks via Browns – Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Richard Sherman is now a 49er and the secondary is going under a major change. Josh Jackson had eight interceptions last season at Iowa and should start week one for the Seahawks.
36. Colts – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The projected starters at cornerback for the Colts are Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore. Isaiah Oliver should step in day one and take Moore’s job.
37. Eagles via Colts – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Both Trey Burton and Brent Celek left the Eagles this offseason and the depth behind Zach Ertz needs rebuilt. Enter Hayden Hurst.
38. Buccaneers – Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State
Even after signing Vinny Curry and trading for Jason Pierre-Paul, the Buccaneers need to add another pass rusher, like former Florida State product Josh Sweat.
39. Bears – Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia
I listed Lorenzo Carter as an EDGE here because I think he would look nice next to Leonard Floyd on the outside, with first round pick Edmunds inside on third down; all rushing the passer. Carter can play inside on early downs and kick outside in passing situations.
40. Browns via Broncos – Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Despite adding a number of cornerbacks in free agency, none of them are difference makers. Carlton Davis is. Besides, you can never have enough good cornerbacks.
41. Raiders – Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Donald Penn will turn 35 years old during the draft. The Raiders need to start thinking about his long-term replacement. Tyrell Crosby could make a great candidate in the second round.
Dolphins trade picks 42, 229 to the Chiefs for picks 54, 86.
42. Chiefs via Dolphins – Justin Reid, SAF, Stanford
The Chiefs released starting safety Ron Parker at the start in free agency in an attempt in get younger in the secondary. Adding Justin Reid to replace him is not only an upgrade up also bring more versatility to the defense.
43. Patriots via 49ers – Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
This is the Jimmy Garoppolo pick and it’s only fitting that it’s spent on a quarterback. Hopefully Kyle Lauletta is the long-term replacement for Tom Brady and the Patriots don’t regret trading Garoppolo.
44. Redskins – Billy Price, iOL, Ohio State
A sure-fire first round pick before, Billy Price got hurt at the Combine, but should be ready to go for training game. The Redskins need a starting left guard and Price would be an excellent option.
45. Packers – D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
With the release of Jordy Nelson the Packers need to add to their wide receiver group. After a good Senior Bowl week and Combine performance, D.J. Chark in is the top 50 conversation.
46. Bengals – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vontaze Burfict is currently suspended for the first four games of the season. Even when he is on the field, the linebacker spot is in need of an upgrade. Leighton Vander Esch has been discussed as a first-round caliber LB by some, so a second-round value would be a nice pick-up for the Bengals.
47. Seahawks via Browns – Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
With both Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril gone, the Seahawks need to add at least one defensive end. Arden Key has some major red flags to him, but that hasn’t stopped the Seahawks in the past.
48. Chargers – Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
After a horrible combine performance, Orlando Brown finds himself clearly a day two pick now. However, the Chargers need to improve their offensive tackles spots, especially right tackle.
49. Colts via Jets – Ronald Jones, RB, USC
Frank Gore is now a Dolphin and Marlon Mack isn’t a capable starting running back. Ronald Jones has the ability to develop into a three down back.
50. Cowboys – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The signing of Allen Hurns may not mean the end of Dez Bryant in Dallas, but drafting Coutland Sutton might. More likely the Cowboys hold onto Bryant for 2018 and release him next off-season.
51. Lions – Duke Ejiofor, EDGE, Wake Forest
Ziggy Ansah is only under contract for one season with the franchise tag and even him he agrees to a long term deal, the Lions lack consistent pass rushers besides him. Duke Ejifor could give them that consistency.
52. Ravens – Frank Ragnow, iOL, Arkansas
After losing starting center Ryan Jensen to the Buccaneers in free agency, the Ravens will need to replace him. Frank Ragnow can step in and start from day one.
53. Giants via Bills – Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
The only cornerback on the roster that the Giants can trust starting is Janoris Jenkins. Quenton Meeks will compete for a starting spot from day one.
54. Dolphins via Chiefs – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
With the release of Julius Thomas, the Dolphins projected starting tight end is A.J Derby. Dallas Goedert would give Ryan Tannehill a nice weapon in the passing game.
55. Panthers – Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
The Panthers aren’t expected to have Christian McCaffrey take on Jonathan Stewart’s carries next season. Instead Nick Chubb comes in and fills that role.
56. Giants via Bills – Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
Trading for Alec Ogletree was a nice start to fix their linebacker problems, but that shouldn’t be the end of it. Malik Jefferson’s athleticism alone should get him a starting role as a rookie.
57. Titans – Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford
The release of Sylvester Williams leaves the defensive line a little thin. Harrison Phillips will compete for a starting spot as a rookie.
58. Falcons – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Taylor Gabriel is now a Bear and the depth behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu is thin. Christian Kirk would start in the slot as a rookie and contribute on special teams.
59. 49ers via Saints – James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
The 49ers had interest in both Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins in free agency. They aren’t satisfied with what is currently on the roster and want to add more. James Washington would give Garoppolo another weapon who can go deep.
60. Steelers – Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC
Uchenna Nwosu can be used similar to Haason Reddick is used by the Cardinals. Off-the-ball linebacker on early downs, pass rusher on third down.
61. Jaguars – Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
Adding Andrew Norwell in free agency will help improve their offensive line. However, bringing in some competition like Jamarco Jones for Jermey Parnell at right tackle is a good idea.
62. Vikings – Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Head coach Mike Zimmer loves his defensive backs. The starting trio of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander is very good but the depth behind them is thin. Donte Jackson would give them great depth, who could step in and make an impact if called upon.
Patriots trade pick 63 to the Raiders for picks 75, 110, 212.
63. Raiders via Patriots – Ronnie Harrison, SAF, Alabama
The Raiders have been remaking their secondary this offseason. Adding Ronnie Harrison to pair with Karl Joseph would give the Raider two young hard hitting safeties.
Browns trade pick 64 to the Texans for picks 80, 103.
64. Texans via Browns – Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
With the Giants and Colts picking ahead of them in the third round, the Texans flip a fourth round pick to the Browns in order to jump them for Martinas Rankin. The Texans need to protect Deshaun Watson better this season and hopefully Rankin can help do that.