2018 NFL Mock Draft: 2 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 17-32
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 20, 2017 with updates every Tuesday leading up to Draft Day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
- Tampa Bay gets a cornerback here. Brent Grimes is a Free Agent after this season. I don't think Tampa Bay considers Ferrell after both Gaines Adams and DaQuan Bowers busted. Putting Tarvarus McFadden next to Vernon Hargreaves III gives Tampa Bay a lockdown cornerback tandem for years to come.
Washington Redskins: Jordan Whitehead, FS, Pittsburgh
- The Redskins take a free safety for depth here. Jordan Whitehead is my top safety on the board here.
- 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. Washington takes Whitehead at 18 here.
Previous Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
Los Angeles Chargers: Armani Watts, FS, Texas A&M
- Los Angeles may use Desmond King as a nickel corner, but there is also the possibility he converts to free safety. King was a boundary corner who played next to the free safety role in Iowa so I dislike the idea of him as a strong safety for depth very much. If King converts to strong safety, I will mock another safety to the Chargers because I disliked Rayshawn Jenkins so much when watching his tape.
- Afolabi Laguda looked extremely suspect versus USC. As a result I moved Armani Watts and Quin Blanding ahead of Laguda with Watts getting the edge over Blanding for now.
Carolina Panthers: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
- Kelvin Benjamin is 260 lbs, Devin Funchess is a tight end converted to wide receiver, and Curtis Samuel is a running back converted to wide receiver. Dante Pettis is my top receiver available so Cam Newton gets another weapon at 18.
- The 6-1 188 lb Dante Pettis had 52 receiving yards, 822 receiving yards, and 15 receiving touchdowns in 2016. Pettis could attack from the inside or outside despite his size. Pettis may be skinnier than Ross, but has a height advantage.
- If Pettis struggles without Ross I'll probably move Jake Weineke from South Dakota State who I like almost as much as Cooper Kupp at first or Calvin Ridley to Carolina with this pick.
- Both Weineke and Ridley could easily surpass Pettis on draft boards if Pettis struggles without John Ross in 2017, you could make a case for James Washington out of Oklahoma State as a dark horse too. It's really too early to say which one of those guys is WR4, but I think it's an open competition between those four at this point with me giving Pettis an early advantage because I love his route running and ability to make big plays in the red zone.
Seattle Seahawks: Connor Williams, LT, Texas
- Seattle finally gets their blindside for Russell Wilson. Archie Lewis was my top ranked left tackle at this point in the first round last week. Jamarco Jones was my top ranked tackle after McGlinchey and Okorafor three weeks ago, but his tape was so bad versus Ferrell that I moved him down. Now Connor Williams is my top ranked left tackle since the 6-6 320 lb blindside has experience at left tackle, right tackle, left guard, and right guard from his High School days. That versatility makes Williams the third best offensive tackle even though I'd like to see him maintain blocks better.
Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, RE, Clemson
- Atlanta goes with a 4-3 right end that can get by left tackles. Clelin Ferrell at 4-3 right end and Takkarist McKinley at 4-3 left end along with Beasley at 4-3 left outside linebacker finally gives Atlanta the components to make a push for a Super Bowl in the future. Atlanta has a three year window of opportunity to win a Championship with all the stars they have secured under contract with chances to win it all this year, in 2019, and in 2020 after Atlanta hosts Super Bowl 53.
Previous Pick: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Oakland Raiders: Malik Jefferson, MLB, Texas
- The Oakland Raiders may become the Las Vegas Raiders in 2018 and play in UNLV's College Stadium for 2 years before the new proposed stadium opens in 2020 if the relocation gets approved for 2018 at next years Spring Meeting. Regardless of if that happens, the Raiders ignored their single biggest need at 4-3 middle linebacker and now they get their 3-down middle linebacker at 12 in this mock.
- 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 Raiders the 4-3 middle linebacker they need.
- With Jefferson, Oakland quickly turns things around and re-establishes themselves as a playoff team assuming Carr gets extended after 2018. I honestly could see the Raiders winning a Super Bowl once they get to Vegas like a lot of sports teams that won Championships after relocating assuming they drafted Jefferson here.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Archie Lewis, LT, Boise State
- The Jacksonville Jaguars gets the 6-3 300 lb Archie Lewis here. Lewis did an awesome job maintaining blocks on tape at 6-3 300 lbs in both pass protection as well as on running plays. Lewis made Jeremy McNichols and Brett Rypien look better than advertised on tape.
- 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 him as a left tackle to give Bortles a blindside is paramount because Cam Robinson needs to stay at left guard while the Jaguars will likely move on from Branden Albert.
Green Bay Packers: Mason Cole, C, Michigan
- The Packers need help on the interior offensive line. With no first round guards on the board, the Packers have to settle for Mason Cole here.
- The 6-5 305 lb offensive lineman was Michigan's blindside for two seasons before converting to center in 2016. Green Bay can start Mason Cole.
Previous Pick: Quenton Nelson, LG, Notre Dame
New York Giants: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson
- In this mock, the Giants get a blindside for Eli Manning. Mitch Hyatt sucked versus Alabama, Louisville, Ohio State, and Boston College on tape. He held his own versus Florida State, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest. Hyatt has the technique of an elite blocker down, but he needs to get stronger and do a much better job maintaining blocks this season.
- The fact that he kept Bradley Chubb and Duke Ejiofor in check on tape manhandling both defensive ends who are getting first round consideration is the only reason the 6-5 295 lb left tackle didn't drop out of my first round. I've watched 7 games of Hyatt and one game he's in the zone and the next game he misses an assignment. This can really frustrate you as a scout. Jamarco Jones only had one bad game versus Clemson, but Hyatt has more experience and was the top offensive tackle in his graduation class back in High School.
Buffalo Bills: Jake Browning, QB, Washington
- Buffalo gets a quarterback here since Cole is off the board. I had Jake Browning at 31 on my Fanspeak board as well as the second best quarterback in this draft behind Jackson. With Sam Darnold going first and Lamar Jackson going seventh, Browning is now the third quarterback drafted in the first round.
- The 6-2 206 lb Jake Browning had 2,955 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions as a true freshman in 2015. Browning improved on that with 3,430 passing yards, 43 passing touchdowns, and 9 interceptions in an NFL offense that Chris Peterson runs at Washnington under center.
- Washington has a pretty young offense so the first year adjustment is understandable when you consider Browning has to carry the Huskies. Browning did more with John Ross blossoming in 2016, but he still has his entire offensive line, Dante Pettis, and Myles Gaskin back at running back. Browning may not be the best quarterback in this class, but with that much talent returning on offense he may still play at a high level even without John Ross. My only concern with Browning is that he may have small hands during the weigh in at the 2018 NFL Combine if he declares and that's something I cannot control at this point.
- Browning has a laser like arm that reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger coming out of Miami Ohio. He also has superb accuracy when you give him time in the pocket. He did get flustered by Alabama in the College Football Playoff, but my reasoning for Browning here is pretty simple, Buffalo may draft a quarterback to push Tyrod Taylor if they miss the 2018 NFL Playoffs.
Previous Pick: Mason Cole, C, Michigan
Indianapolis Colts: Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
- Indianapolis gets a running back here. Bo Scarbrough is the only first round running back available.
- Bo Scarbrough had 11 rushing touchdowns on limited carries in 2016. Scarbrough will see a lot more action running the football in 2017 though and should be a 2018 first round pick if he declares for the 2018 NFL Draft. Scarbrough has some concerns with durability which is why I moved him down for the third time in four weeks, but he's still a first round talent in my opinion.
New Orleans Saints: Bradley Chubb, LE, North Carolina State
- New Orleans may do well if Trey Hendrickson steps up. If he doesn't and Max Unger misses more than the first month, the Saints are probably looking at another 7-9 season. I love Trey Hendrickson and had a second round grade on him at one point, but Bradley Chubb is just too good to pass on at 29 even if he had one bad game of tape versus Hyatt.
- Bradley Chubb had 21 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in 2016 making him an ideal defensive end for the New Orleans Saints 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 how much better Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins get from a player like Bradley Chubb who brings that on tape to New Orleans?
Pittsburgh Steelers: Micah Kiser, 3-4 MLB, Virginia
- 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, I'm going to have serious doubts about them beating the Patriots to win the AFC. The 6-2 240 lb Micah Kiser had 134 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, and dominated in coverage showing the man coverage to keep up with David Njoku at tight end and the zone coverage to intercept Brad Kaaya. This makes Kiser a late first round pick in my mind.
Dallas Cowboys: Toby Weatherspoon, RT, LSU
- Dallas got their defensive pieces in the 2017 NFL Draft. Toby Weatherspoon is a guy who would be an upgrade over Byron Bell and Chaz Green because I doubt Bell or Green will have the kind of impact Doug Free had. Weatherspoon's superb run blocking at right tackle opened things up for Fournette and Guice on LSU in 2016.
New England Patriots: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
- The Patriots take a cornerback for depth here. Minkah Fitzpatrick is versatile enough to be used as a boundary cornerback, strong safety, or free safety. Belichick will love Fitzpatrick's versatility plus Malcolm Butler is a Free Agent which is why this pick makes sense for the Patriots.
Previous Pick: Martez Ivey, LT, Florida
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