Draft Order NFL: The New York Jets will pick first overall in my first 2018 NFL Mock Draft.

Tony Mario's 2018 NFL Mock Draft: 2 Rounds

Round 1 Picks 1-16

The 2018 NFL Draft could be quite the quarterback class.

Tony Mario Last Updated: June 20, 2017.

  1. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
    The Jets addressed safety in the 2017 NFL Draft, but still have glaring holes at quarterback, both offensive tackle spots, both cornerback spots, both wide receiver spots, and center. The Jets have to be the front runner to pick first overall in 2018 for this sole reason.

    Right now the 6-4 225 lb Sam Darnold is the undisputed favorite to go first overall even Jim Mora the head coach out of UCLA likes him. He led USC to a comeback win after trailing 49-35 in the fourth quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl.

    As long as Darnold improves his accuracy and mechanics in 2017 there is no reason to think he won't be the top pick. Mark Sciubba believes he compares similar to Matthew Stafford while Chris Ransom thinks he is a future bust like Ryan Mallett. I don't like this fit for Darnold and he may fail here, but that's not because he's a bad quarterback its more due to the Jets not having the personnel to help Darnold succeed along with so many holes at key positions.

    Darnold is way better than Mark Sanchez, but Sanchez thrived his first two years because a good supporting cast was in place. With Darnold he may break out by the third year, but would probably struggle in his first two seasons with the Jets due to a lack of a supporting cast.

    Previous Pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

  2. Chicago Bears: Arden Key, 3-4 ROLB, LSU

    Chicago moved Leonard Floyd their 2016 first round pick to a 3-4 left outside linebacker role for depth. While you can certainly make a case for Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey here, I think the Bears would end up releasing Lamaar Houston at 3-4 right outside linebacker to save $8-million against the cap with Houston having a buyout option in 2018 only to draft Arden Key second overall. Key did a great job bullying Louisville left tackle Gerod Christian in that Bowl Game.

  3. Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, RT, Notre Dame

    The Rams traded left guard Greg Robinson. Here the Rams take Notre Dame left tackle Mike MgClinchey who began his career as a right tackle to Ronnie Stanley at Notre Dame. Rob Havenstein would move to left guard and McGlinchey would start out at right tackle before eventually moving over to left tackle when the team moves on from Andrew Whitworth. The Rams need more offensive line help in the wake of this trade and I feel like that gives them a reason not to give up on Jared Goff after a second season even if Goff struggles.

    Previous Pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

  4. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

    San Francisco will take a quarterback that plays in a Pro Style offense. Their greatest quarterback is named after one of the weirdest states in Montana. Their next great quarterback currently plays College in the weirdest state which is Wyoming.

    Josh Allen has the arm to run Kyle Shanhan's offense. He just needs to develop the accuracy. Shanahan may think he can coach that part of Allen's game and if that's the case the 49ers will go with Allen here.

    Previous Pick: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

  5. Cleveland Browns: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

    The Browns released Josh Gordon and never replaced him in the draft. Cleveland may have an abundance of wide receivers at the moment, but Coleman may be a slot receiver at best and if they pick in the top 5 again, there is a good chance the Browns take a wide receiver. Kirk is now my top receiver. Kirk has gotten separation on tape against some of the top corners where Ridley has just struggled on tape in some instances last year. Ridley may have a huge 2017 campaign, but right now Kirk is my top receiver.

    Previous Pick: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

  6. Cincinnati Bengals: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama

    Minkah Fitzpatrick is my top ranked cornerback. He's versatile enough to play boundary cornerback, nickel cornerback, or free safety. Cincinnati still has a glaring need at free safety and the Bengals converting Adam Jones to free safety and getting a corner like Fitzpatrick if William Jackson III struggles in 2017 is a real possibility for the Bengals here.

    Previous Pick: Mike McGlinchey, RT, Notre Dame

  7. Buffalo Bills: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

    Buffalo could get a right tackle here, but Dion Dawkins is emerging as the favorite to start at right tackle so I'll give the Bills the best player available at 7. At the same time, Barkley is arguably a top 5 prospect and the unanimous top running back in 2018. Buffalo has multiple first round picks and it felt like the Bills addressed all of their needs in the 2017 NFL Draft so they go Barkley here to give their running game life after LeSean McCoy since Buffalo failed to replace Mike Gillislee in the 2017 NFL Draft.

  8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

    I think Jaguars will be a much improved team next year. At the same time if they end up picking this high and keeping Blake Bortles they will ignore need and take the best player on their board at 8 since no tight ends are worth taking in the top 10 this year. The 6-4 310 lb Christian Wilkins makes a lot of sense for Jacksonville at 8.

  9. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, SS, Florida State

    Can Washington trust Su'a Cravens at strong safety or D.J. Swearinger at free safety. Both players are backup safeties in my opinion. Some have Derwin James going as high as the top 5. He suffered a season ending injury in 2016 so I'll say he's a top 10 talent right now, but could emerge into a top 5 talent with a strong 2017 campaign. He's easily Florida State's best safety since Jalen Ramsey.

  10. Indianapolis Colts: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

    The Colts had an awesome 2017 NFL Draft. If they finish this poorly and end up with a top 10 pick then Chuck Pagano would be fired. I'm guessing Vontae Davis would also not be re-signed with Davis in a contract year meaning the Colts secondary would have a cornerback tandem of Jaire Alexander and Quincy Wilson will Malik Hooker starts at safety.

    Previous Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama

  11. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

    The Ravens did everything except get Joe Flacco a #1 target. Ozzie Newsome takes another player from Alabama with Calvin Ridley here.

    Previous Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

  12. Minnesota Vikings: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

    I was initially going to give the Vikings Courtland Sutton. Then I found out Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, and Case Keenum are all Free Agents in 2018. The Vikings have gone with UCLA players in the past. I think they would look past the concerns with Rosen if they picked this high getting a pocket quarterback to be the face of the franchise at 12.

    Previous Pick: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

  13. Cleveland Browns: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

    Cleveland can save over $11-million against the cap if they release Joe Haden in 2018. Unless Haden rebounds in a big way in 2017, the Browns will likely part ways with Haden and get another cornerback in Free Agency or the 2018 NFL Draft.

  14. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

    I think Panthers desperately need a # 1 target. Kelvin Benjamin is overweight and has the size of a defensive end. Devin Funchess is a tight end converted to wide receiver and Curtis Samuel is a running back turned wide receiver. Sutton gives Cam Newton a #1 target that he needs and covets.

  15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

    Last years Heisman Trophy Winning quarterback who I had at 1 last week drops to 15 here. Lamar Jackson dropped to this pick because he's undersized and has a really bad completion percentage. If he repeats as this years Heisman Winner I'll move him back to 1, but right now I think he's more likely to get exposed during his draft year.

    Previous Pick: Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

  16. Denver Broncos: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson

    If Garrett Bolles does not have an immediate impact at left tackle Denver may move him to right tackle. Donald Stephenson is the current projected starter at left tackle and Denver can save $4-million by releasing him. Denver can save over $5-million by releasing Menelik Watson. The 2018 NFL Draft looks a lot deeper at offensive tackle than the 2017 NFL Draft so if Denver does this bad and wants to keep developing their quarterbacks like Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly, I could easily see Denver drafting an actual blindside here and kicking Bolles over to right tackle where he'd be a lot better.

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