2018 NFL Mock Draft: 3 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 17-32
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: August 22, 2017 with updates every Tuesday leading up to Draft Day.
Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
- Our Houston Texans 2017 Season Preview is now up and the Cleveland Browns have their first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Cleveland also has their second round pick.
- Cleveland ends up with the seventeenth pick from the Texans in this mock draft. After taking a safety at 10 they go with a running back at 17 with both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson in contract years.
- Most consider Barkley the top running back in the draft. I'm not sure if Cleveland will knock him for struggling in pass protection. I'm guessing they look past it at this point and that's why their the Browns.
New Orleans Saints: Clelin Ferrell, LE, Clemson
- Our New Orleans Saints 2017 Season Preview is up. New Orleans moved up to 18 thanks to their strength of schedule. They have the strongest strength of schedule between Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Buffalo, and Houston with all 5 of those teams having the same record.
- New Orleans is a team that does need a 4-3 left end to compliment Cameron Jordan. Clelin Ferrell had 12.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks as a freshman redshirt in 2016. The 6-5 265 lb Ferrell is versatile enough to play 4-3 right end and 4-3 left end making him an ideal pick for the Saints here.
Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
- Our Carolina Panthers 2017 Season Preview is now up and the Carolina Panthers should improve on last season. This Panthers' team has way more depth than last years squad.
- The Panthers take a wide receiver at 19 with both Jaire Alexander and Tarvarus McFadden gone. Courtland Sutton is still on the board at 19 making him a shoe in selection for the Carolina Panthers because they need a #1 wide receiver. I had Sutton in my top 5 three weeks ago until I found out he stretches his hands out too far when posting my SWOT report for Sutton which can be seen by clicking on Sutton's name.
Washington Redskins: Archie Lewis, LG, Boise State
- Our Washington Redskins 2017 Season Preview is now up and the Washington Redskins should improve on last season. Washington barely missed the playoffs and you can argue they are still a 10 win team.
- The Redskins take a Archie Lewis. Archie Lewis is a 6-3 300 lb left tackle that does an exceptional job maintaining blocks on tape. This guy is superb as a pass blocker, run blocker, and zone blocker.
- Archie Lewis is way better at maintaining blocks on tape than Connor Williams. He doesn't have the frame Williams has though which is why he would be the fourth offensive tackle taken. He's versatile enough to play all five positions on the offensive line as at left tackle, left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle.
- Lewis made Jeremy McNichols and Brett Rypien look better than advertised on tape. That's why I moved Lewis up into the first round of my mock draft.
- Boise State has produced NFL offensive tackles like Ryan Clady, Nate Potter, and Rees Odhiambo even though I disliked Odhiambo's tape in the 2016 NFL Draft. Lewis is without a doubt my favorite Boise State left tackle since Ryan Clady and drafting the Boise State left tackle as someone who could move to right tackle if Morgan Moses leaves in Free Agency or kick inside to guard to fill that void Washington has had at left guard for some time makes a lot of sense. For now, I have Lewis kicking inside to left guard.
Previous Pick: Jordan Whitehead, FS, Pittsburgh
Seattle Seahawks: Trey Adams, LT, Washington
- Our Seattle Seahawks 2017 Season Preview is up. I have Seattle at 21 after going 8-8 and losing the wild card game to the Atlanta Falcons. Russell Wilson is currently 5-0 at home at CenturyLink Field. I have Wilson falling to 0-3 versus Atlanta in his playoff career with the Falcons winning a wild card game in Seattle.
- Seattle needs a blue chip left tackle. The 6-7 302 lb Trey Adams is a Washington Huskies left tackle that would be a welcome local addition for a Seattle Seahawks squad that needs a left tackle to protect Russell Wilson's blindside.
- Adams is the biggest reason why Jake Browning gets so much time in the pocket. I wish he maintained blocks a little longer, but he has the best foot speed of any offensive tackle this year. If he can get stronger and improve his pass blocking and run blocking strength, this is a guy who can make a very convincing case to push everyone else to be the first offensive tackle drafted.
Previous Pick: Archie Lewis, LT, Boise State
Oakland Raiders: Cameron Smith, MLB, USC
- Our Oakland Raiders 2017 Season Preview is now up and the Oakland Raiders were our six seed in the AFC. I have the Raiders losing to the Indianapolis Colts in their wild card game. That's why they ended up picking at 22.
- The Oakland Raiders get their middle linebacker at 22. Once they solidify this area and get another right tackle, this team will be ready to take the next step before relocating to Las Vegas.
- The 6-2 245 lb Cameron Smith had 48 solo tackles, 30 assisted tackles, and 78 total tackles as a true freshman. Smith had 83 total tackles in 2016. Smith has ability to start at 4-3 middle linebacker right away as well as 3-4 middle linebacker.
- Head coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. both specialize in developing linebackers and both have ties to the PAC 12. Reggie McKenzie will ultimately have the final say as General Manager, but this is player that screams future Oakland Raider or future Las Vegas Raider if he wins defensive rookie of the year in Oakland assuming the Raiders draft him in 2018.
Previous Pick: Malik Jefferson, 3-4 MLB, Texas
Tennessee Titans: Armani Watts, FS, Texas A&M
- Our Tennessee Titans 2017 Season Preview is up. The Titans pick at 23 after losing a wild card game to the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Tennessee gets a starting safety that they desperately need. Armani Watts makes a ton of sense here.
Green Bay Packers: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
- Our Green Bay Packers 2017 Season Preview is up. Green Bay is a team that should win the NFC North again. I'm not sure how far they will go in the playoffs, but you'd have to think that they will cruise through the NFC North with their schedule.
- The Packers need help on the interior offensive line. At the same time I feel like they need an upgrade over Davon House at field cornerback. Rollins moved ahead of Randall on the depth charts and both 2015 corners should be starting.
- Since one of them is going to move to the nickel, I'm gonna go ahead and give the Packers Tarvarvus McFadden because even though he's not the cornerback with the most potential like Alexander, he's a blue chip corner that can play at a Pro Bowl level and is probably the safest player remaining in the first round as well as the best overall player on the board at this point.
- Green Bay was 32nd in pass defense and Kevin King isn't expected to start this year. He may be a nickel guy down the road, but I liked Sidney Jones a whole lot better plus McFadden is a better prospect in my mind than Kevin King was even though King was a really good sleeper that crept up the boards due to acing the draft process.
- McFadden picked off Chad Kelly, Deshaun Watson, Brad Kaaya, and Lamar Jackson while recording 8 interceptions in 2016. While interior offensive line is a need, this is a rare situation where the value outweighs the need.
Previous Pick: Mason Cole, C, Michigan
Buffalo Bills: Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
- Our Kansas City Chiefs 2017 Season Preview is up. Kansas City traded this pick to Buffalo in the Patrick Mahomes trade.
- Buffalo got this pick from Kansas City in the Patrick Mahomes trade. Pairing Auden Tate with Zay Jones gives Buffalo two future #1 receiver targets.
Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Whitehead, FS, Pittsburgh
- Our Atlanta Falcons 2017 Season Preview is now up and the Atlanta Falcons pick at 26 this week. We have them getting the five seed in the NFC and making it to the divisional round.
- Atlanta has McKinley and Beasley at defensive end. They get a safety to pair up with Keanu Neal. Jordan Whitehead is the top safety on the board at this point.
- The 5-11 185 lb Jordan Whitehead has the versatility to play cornerback, strong safety, or free safety. He has the size of a cornerback, but plays like a strong safety which is his natural position at Pittsburgh.
- Whitehead had 74 solo tackles, 34 assisted tackles, 108 total tackles, 6 deflections from pass breakups, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown as a true freshman. Whitehead has incredible tape, but needs to add more muscle if he wants to be the top safety drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. His lack of size may limit him to a cornerback role, but Whitehead had only 65 tackles in 2016 compared to his 108 total tackles and did not look as sharp on tape. Atlanta takes Whitehead at 26 here.
Previous Pick: Ronnie Harrison, FS, Alabama
Indianapolis Colts: Brian O'Neill, RT, Pittsburgh
- Our Indianapolis Colts 2017 Season Preview is up. I have Indianapolis at 27 losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisonal round.
- Indianapolis gets a right tackle here. The 6-6 290 lb right tackle for Pittsburgh has experience at both left tackle and right tackle. He may move to left tackle for Pittsburgh this season now that Adam Bisnowaty is gone. I see a first round offensive tackle in Brian O'Neill and he's the top offensive tackle in the ACC at the moment. He is someone the Colts will consider even if they make the playoffs if Le'Raven Clark and Joe Haeg both struggle at right tackle this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Orlando Brown, LT, Oklahoma
- Our Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Season Preview is up. I have Tampa Bay at 28 getting home field in the NFC losing to the team they face in the divisional round due to a lack of experience in the post season under Jameis Winston.
- Tampa Bay gets a new blindside here with Orlando Brown. He allows Donovan Smith to kick inside to left guard with Ali Marpet at center, J.R. Sweezy at right guard, and Demar Dotson at right tackle.
- Orlando Brown has a lot of qualities you look for in a blue chip left tackle. Some believe he should be placed higher, but with Orlando Brown you give Winston so much more time in the pocket that it isn't even funny. With Brown, Tampa Bay has an offense that can score enough points to put this team in playoff contention on a year-to-year basis.
Previous Pick: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson
New York Giants: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
- Our New York Giants 2017 Season Preview is up. New York needs a left tackle, but none are worth taking here. The other options are to get the top middle linebacker or to ignore need and take the best player on the board.
- In this mock, the Giants get a wide receiver for Eli Manning since Brandon Marshall is a short-term #2 option. Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is the best player on the board by a long-shot.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Jefferson, 3-4 MLB, Texas
- Our Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Season Preview is up. Pittsburgh picks at 30 again even though they have the best chance to dethrone New England in the AFC.
- Pittsburgh may get back to Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota. If they don't find a replacement to Lawrence Timmons they won't win Super Bowl 52 though. I loved Pittsburgh's draft for the most part, but until they get a guy who can replace Timmons and compliment Ryan Shazier, I'm going to have serious doubts about them beating the Patriots to win the AFC.
- The 6-3 238 lb Malik Jefferson has the versatility to play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, or 3-4 middle linebacker. Jefferson can rush the quarterback, stop the run, and cover effectively despite only having 37 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles, and 61 total tackles as a true freshman. Jefferson improved on that in 2016 with 62 total tackles, but Jefferson needs a 100 total tackle season in 2017 while dominating in coverage like he's done the last two years. Malik Jefferson gives the Steelers linebacker they need to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC assuming they can keep everyone they have together for another season.
Previous Pick: Micah Kiser, MLB, Virginia
Dallas Cowboys: Bradley Chubb, LE, North Carolina State
- Our Dallas Cowboys 2017 Season Preview is up. Dallas gets the 6 seed in our preview and goes on an improbable run to get to Minnesota for Super Bowl 52 before losing to the Patriots by a field goal in a very close game.
- Dallas is starting DeMarcus Lawrence who enters a contract year and Tyrone Crawford at 4-3 right end and 4-3 left end. This is a huge mistake on their part if they want to win Super Bowl 52. Taco Charlton can start right now and if the Cowboys move on from Lawrence which the likely will another defensive end will be needed so Crawford can play defensive tackle where he excels or they can release Crawford to save cap space in 2018.
- Bradley Chubb had 21 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in 2016 making him an ideal defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys at 6-4 275 lbs. Chubb can rush the quarterback or stop the run. The 6-4 270 lb defensive end lined up at 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, and 4-3 defensive tackle.
- He took on left tackles, left guards, centers, right guards, and right tackles. He took on any type of offensive lineman and would sacrifice his pass rushing to get to the quarterback by taking on the entire interior offensive line which opened up things for the rest of the defensive line at North Carolina State. Can you imagine putting a guy with those skills next to Taco Charlton who fell way too far in the 2017 NFL Draft.
New England Patriots: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
- Our New England Patriots 2017 Season Preview is up. I have New England repeating since this team is still pretty stacked at every position.
- The Patriots take the only prospect on my board with a first round grade in Minkah Fitzpatrick. There is a wide open race to see who goes to the Patriots at 32 and while they have the luxury to take the best player on the board, Minkah Fitzpatrick is versatile enough to play field cornerback, strong safety, free safety, or boundary cornerback and with Malcolm Butler set to have an expiring contract, drafting Fitzpatrick becomes the top priority if Butler leaves New England.
Previous Pick: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
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