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: July 8, 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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 because Allen has big hands that may be up to 11-inches which will impress scouts at the 2018 NFL Combine if he declares along with the fact that Allen plays under center.
Cleveland Browns: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
- The Browns have Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler, and DeShone Kizer competing for the starting quarterback job. Lamar Jackson is last years reigning Heisman Trophy Winner. You really cannot fault the Browns for taking Jackson here if he's available at 5.
Previous Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Cincinnati Bengals: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
- Minkah Fitzpatrick was my top ranked cornerback. He may not have the size or versatility of Minkah Fitzpatrick, but he's sound in coverage. If William Jackson III struggles this year, the Bengals will need another corner because it's getting to the point where Adam Jones may end up converting to free safety with the Bengals having issues at that position on the secondary as well.
Previous Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
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.
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.
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.
Indianapolis Colts: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
- 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 Minkah Fitzpatrick and Quincy Wilson while Malik Hooker starts at safety with Clayton Geathers.
Previous Pick: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Baltimore Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
- The Ravens did everything except get Joe Flacco a #1 target. Ozzie Newsome gets a huge steal in Christian Kirk who some argue is a top 5 talent.
Previous Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Minnesota Vikings: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
- 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. Now I'm looking past that since Bradford and Bridgewater both appear to be taking huge steps with Bradford improving as well as Teddy recovering. One may play well enough to be re-signed and if that happens the Vikings will take the top receiver on the board. Calvin Ridley is a guy I have graded higher than Sutton which is why this is an easy pick for me.
Previous Pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
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.
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.
Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
- Josh Rosen was initially my top quarterback. He was a guy that was number one in multiple mock drafts on this site. Off the field concerns from what he's done at UCLA to his old High School coach criticizing him have Rosen falling to Arizona where he can be an understudy to Palmer hopefully cleaning up his act.
Previous Pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Denver Broncos: Connor Williams, LT, Texas
- 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.
- The 6-6 320 lb Connor Williams lined up at left tackle, right tackle, left guard, and right guard at Coppell High School despite converting to left tackle full time at Texas. Having that versatility along with the pass blocking, run blocking, and zone blocking on tape makes Williams a pretty safe first round pick as well as a top 3 offensive tackle in my new mock draft.
Previous Pick: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson
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