2018 NFL Mock Draft: 3 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-16
The 2018 NFL Draft has a chance to be a special group.
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: September 26, 2017 with updates every Tuesday leading up to Draft Day.
San Francisco 49ers: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
- Thanks to this weeks parity in the NFL, I now have the Jets and 49ers both at 2-14 since I had the 49ers beating the Rams and the Jets losing to Miami. The Rams beat San Francisco and New York nearly pitched a shutout on the Dolphins. If both of these teams go 2-14 then San Francisco will pick ahead of the Jets since San Francisco's strength of victory and strength of schedule is weaker than the Jets.
- Tony Mario and Mark Sciubba both have USC quarterback Sam Darnold going first overall in both of their mocks. Both also have Josh Rosen as their second best quarterback and it's easy to agree with that after Jackson's awful showing versus Clemson. Ryan Romero has the Jets taking Lamar Jackson at 1, but he's giving Mason Rudolph serious consideration too. Again these mocks, were prior to what happened on Sunday. Tony is actually going to put the Browns at 1 in his new mock.
- Every other mock on this site has the Jets at 1. I went with San Francisco due to them winning the tiebreaker and that's the only reason they are picking at 1 since I still think the Jets are a worse team on paper. Darnold goes to San Francisco where he will have way more success with Joe Staley at left tackle giving Darnold a blindside that will ensure his protection. Now you just need to build your offense around Darnold and you may have a fearsome NFC West team down the road once your players from the 2017 NFL Draft develop.
Previous Pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
- If the Jets pick second overall in 2018 then the Jets will give up on Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg to take a quarterback. Petty got cussed at by Jon Gruden, and that's not an indication that he's the quarterback of the future. It's more of an indication that the Jets need to be ready to draft a new quarterback in 2018.
- With Sam Darnold going to San Francisco, the Jets have to settle for the second best quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. At that point, that quarterback is Josh Rosen. Rosen is putting up mind boggling numbers and great tape despite losing two in a row to Memphis and Stanford.
Previous Pick: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Chicago Bears: Arden Key, 3-4 ROLB, LSU
- For weeks, Tony Mario told us that the Bears would extend left tackle Charles Leno and that the pick would be used on Arden Key. I believe that completely now since releasing Lamaar Houston and Pernell McPhee saves over $15-million against the cap.
- Leonard Floyd, Chicago's 2016 first round pick has yet to start a game. I'm thinking in this situation Chicago drafts Arden Key and finally starts Floyd across from him full-time in 2018 which would give Chicago a very lethal pass rush.
- Arden Key also known as "The Tiger" really impressed winning the 4-3 right end job from 2017 prospect Lewis Neal. You have to think Key will be the key to LSU's pass rush for the next two seasons especially in 2017 during his draft year.
- The 6-6 231 lb right end had 21 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles, 9 quarterback hurries, 6.5 tackles for a loss, and 5 sacks in 2015. Key had 14.5 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks in 2016. Key put on more muscle than I expected him to and is now at 265 lbs.
- I still see him as an outside linebacker, but I am moving him ahead of Harold Landry since he's a better scheme fit for the 3-4 defense. He will miss LSU's season opener though.
- Right now Key has 4.43 speed in terms of his 40 time and he literally runs like a tiger when getting after your quarterback but unless he gets up to 270 he's probably better off as an outside linebacker even though he's a lot closer to where he needs to be. Key is considered the best pass rusher in this draft by most experts and his tape makes him very complete as a prospect.
Cincinnati Bengals: Trey Adams, LT, Washington
- Cincinnati had needs at left tackle, 4-3 right end, and free safety heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. They didn't address any of those needs.
- Mike McGlinchey's tape started strong versus Georgia in the first half. He struggled versus Georgia in the second half to the point where people were prisoners of the moment saying he needs to be removed from the first round completely. I'll admit he played bad enough to move out of the top five, but still refuse to believe he is no longer a first round prospect because McGlinchey rebounded versus Harold Landry.
- Both Trey Adams and Connor Williams have excellent foot speed for offensive tackles. Adams corrected his issues in terms of maintaining blocks and pushing defenders back on tape and gives Cincinnati a quality left tackle. Williams didn't correct those issues. Adams has the bigger wingspan than Williams or McGlinchey so he's the first offensive tackle drafted.
Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, FS, Florida State
- The Chargers need multiple safeties. Derwin James is a blue chip player in my mind and would be a great addition for the Chargers at 5.
- The 6-3 212 lb Derwin James is versatile enough to play cornerback, strong safety, or free safety. He plays man coverage, zone coverage, and press coverage at an elite level. James has been compared to Kam Chancellor and Eric Berry and its easy to see why making him an obvious pick here.
Previous Pick: Ronnie Harrison, FS, Alabama
Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
- The Cleveland Browns dominated the 2017 NFL Draft and are sort of in a position where they can ignore need and take the best player on the board. Saquon Barkley also fills a position of need here and got off to a very dominant start to begin the 2017 Season. Barkley had one issue with pass protection, but he's fixed that making him the top running back in this class now.
Previous Pick: Derwin James, FS, Florida State
Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, LG, Notre Dame
- Miami needs upgrades at secondary and on the offensive line at the guard position. With Derwin James gone and the Dolphins foolishly deciding to give T.J. McDonald a contract extension, I'm leaning Quenton Nelson at 7. Left guard is a huge need for Miami and Nelson gives Miami a blue chip left guard that can give Ryan Tannehill who turns 30-years-old in 2018 more time in the pocket.
Arizona Cardinals: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
- Baker Mayfield was awesome verus Ohio State. I'm sold on him possibly being a Pro Bowler he will be a very good starter at the worst. Carson Palmer was awful versus Detroit so in this situation Baker comes in and replaces Palmer in Arizona.
Baltimore Ravens: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
- Baltimore gets a running back here because Woodhead has durability concerns along with the fact that Kenneth Dixon cannot be trusted. Ozzie Newsome may see Jamal Lewis with Guice.
Previous Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Detroit Lions: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
- Detroit gets a 4-3 defensive tackle with Haloti Ngata in a contract year. Christian Wilkins is a blue chip defensive tackle that can anchor your teams defensive line for years to come. I compared Wilkins to Warren Sapp and he gives Detroit their best defensive tackle since Ndamukong Suh.
Buffalo Bills: Ronnie Harrison, FS, Alabama
- Buffalo drafts someone who can give Buffalo an upgrade at safety. Ronnie Harrison is a blue chip safety plus Cleveland picks at 12 and they are also in the market for a safety.
Previous Pick: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Cleveland Browns: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
- Cleveland ends up picking at twelve again with their second pick. James Washington has 19 receptions, 520 receiving yards, and 4 receiving touchdowns getting 98 receiving yards or more in each of his first four games for Oklahoma State. Washington had success on TCU's corners which is something Courtland Sutton struggled with. Washington is now my top ranked receiver and he goes to Cleveland with Saquon Barkley to give Kizer more help on offense.
Previous Pick: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Jacksonville Jaguars: Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
- Jacksonville did well versus the Texans. I'm letting Blake Bortles keep his job in this weeks mock draft since Allen Robinson who enters a contract year and got placed on injured reserve. Deontay Burnett has emerged as Sam Darnold's best wide receiver target. He has three games of over 100 receiving yards against NFL cornerbacks on tape to open up the season against Western Michigan, Stanford, and Texas. I'm putting Burnett here even though there are some things he needs to work on like not dropping 2-3 balls a game that come his way. Burnett has better numbers than my top receiver James Washington, but Burnett was my top ranked wide receiver a week ago and still provides fantastic value here.
Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, LT, Notre Dame
- Seattle needs a blue chip left tackle. The only reason they are picking this high is because I have them and the Rams at 8-8 with the Rams beating San Francisco, they now win the tiebreaker causing Seattle to miss the playoffs.
Previous Pick: Orlando Brown, LT, Oklahoma
Denver Broncos: Chukwuma Okorafor, RT, Western Michigan
- Denver has a top 5 defense. I just don't have faith in Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Oswweiler, or Chad Kelly long-term. That's the biggest reason why I have Denver picking here. At the same time with these quarterbacks its highly unlikely that Denver drafts a quarterback in the first round until 2019 now. Getting a right tackle to pair with Bolles is paramount.
- Chukwuma Okorafor is one of my blue chip prospects in this draft. He falls to Denver at 16 here where he can be a right tackle who compliments Garrett Bolles.
New Orleans Saints: Clelin Ferrell, LE, Clemson
- New Orleans is a team that does need a 4-3 left end to compliment Cameron Jordan. Clelin Ferrell is a great fit here since he can play 4-3 defensive end on either side with his versatility.
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